German Policy on Discontinuation of Prosecution in Cases of Personal Use Amounts

"Section 31a of the German Narcotics Act (Betäubungsmittelgesetz, BtMG) provides for the possibility to discontinue prosecution for possession of drugs under certain circumstances, namely when the offender has grown, produced, imported, exported, bought or received and possessed in any other way narcotic substances in small amounts exclusively for personal use and when his guilt is deemed as minor and there is no public interest in prosecution. This provides the public prosecutor with an instrument to stop proceedings for consumption-related offences without court approval. All Federal Laender have regulated details of the application of § 31a BtMG through recommendations or guidelines. These guidelines considerably diverged from each other in the individual Laender a few years ago, but have meanwhile largely converged. Some divergences in the Laender regulations do however persist (Schäfer & Paoli 2006)."


German Reference Centre for the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Deutsche Beobachtungsstelle fuer Drogen und Drogensucht (DBDD)), "2012 National Report to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point: Germany: New Developments, Trends and In-Depth Information on Selected Issues - Drug Situation 2011/2012" (Munich, Germany: DBDD, Oct. 2012), p. 5.