Introduction and overview

Gradations of legality and illegality of THC

Foodstuffs containing THC below the limits may be produced, sold and consumed. The permitted (very low) limits are specified in an ordinance.
Hemp flowers with less than 1% THC may be consumed freely. When sold as smoked products, the corresponding packaging regulations must be observed.

Quasi-legal: The penalty-free small amount of cannabis

The possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis for personal consumption as well as for simultaneous, joint and gratuitous consumption among adults is not punishable (consumption, however, is always punishable). Quasi legal in the narcotics area (for hemp: from 1% THC content) are therefore only the preparations for the first consumption until just before consumption. Actually, an unpunished quantity may not be confiscated, nevertheless this happens practically always.
According to the law no punishment possible (was almost always ignored by the police until 2017).

Little illegal: consumption detected by the police (with a maximum of 10 grams).

Consumption detected by police can be punished by fine of 100 francs (adults only). There is no increase of the fine in case of repetition and also no fees, so this is equivalent to wrong parking. At the same time, one may possess a maximum of 10 grams of illegal hemp products (which are also always confiscated in these cases). Whoever possesses more or commits further crimes will be reported.
contravention, punished by police: fine

Normal illegal: private consumption and preparations for it

Consumption that the police have not detected but can prove must be dealt with in the ordinary procedure, as must possession of more than 10 grams for personal use. The police draw up a protocol with the facts of the case and report the person in question. The criminal authority then issues a penal order: fine and fees cost 200 to 1'000 francs. Those who are reported several times can always receive higher fines and fees.
contravention, punished by office: fine and fees

Strongly illegal: passing and selling as well as THC and driving a car

As soon as a THC product with at least 1% THC changes hands, it is passing on and a misdemeanor. Selling is not necessary for this, giving away is sufficient. Passing on a joint to young people is also considered misdemeanor, as is driving a car with THC in the blood.
Whoever lives from the trade and is caught, gets a minimum sentence of one year and is considered a serious case. In the case of repetition, there can thus also be prison sentences of several years.
misdemeanor : fine, costs, fine or imprisonment, repayment of profits, criminal record.

With exemption permits (for doctor, patient, manufacturer and distributor), there is a legal medical use for THC-rich products, especially for serious diseases.

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THC use still subject to criminal prosecution

Many joints without consequences...

Most hemp users can smoke pot without the state noticing. The vast majority of joints burn down peacefully without being confiscated by the police. If you search, you will find weed or hash, be it on the street, in private circles or on the internet.

Those who have never been prosecuted for THC consumption may ask themselves: Is there any repression against smoking pot in Switzerland at all?

Unfortunately, the answer is clearly yes. In fact, it is a big part of the overall state repression. The narcotics law is a harsh law. If you think you are safe and then, due to carelessness or bad luck, you are confronted with police violence, you may be shocked at how you are treated.

...but tens of thousands of people affected each year

The official prosecution figures are alarmingly high: more than 30,000 people were prosecuted by the police for hemp in 2020. They were accused of more than 35,000 illegal acts related to consumption and trafficking. If we assume a few hundred thousand THC users in Switzerland, about 10 percent are bothered by the police, the public prosecutor or the courts every year.

Yes, the prosecution of THC in Switzerland exists and the range of punishment is wide (warning to 20 years imprisonment). This is what we want to show with our legal aid brochure and, above all, to make clear the conditions that apply to the gradations of legality and illegality of THC: so that everyone is prepared. Because when it happens, one is faced with an organized apparatus that can chalk up all the investigative actions as paid working time, while the people concerned defend themselves in their free time and (if guilty) also have to pay the investigation costs as well as the fine.

Inform yourself before a procedure

Many decisive facts are set in motion at the very beginning of a trial, and one's own testimony in particular is an important element. Here, everyone should always think very carefully about what they want to admit or conceal.

For this, THC-users have to think about the legal consequences of smoking pot before the first police contact, which will probably happen sooner or later. Otherwise you will get yourself and your environment deeper into the mess than is absolutely necessary. Because: Shit happens…

If you have dealt with the situation in advance and developed a strategy, you will be better able to deal with prosecution.

Terms in our wiki (with links to wikipedia)

Latin for hemp
Dioecious plant species that produces male and female plants
and produces the active ingredient THC, especially in the resin.
Dried female hemp flowers
Resin of the hemp plant (obtained from weed)
Smoking pot / THC use
Smoke hash/weed , eat, drink or vaporize or inhale.
Smokers / THC users
People who take hemp containing THC
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
This is the main active ingredient in hemp and, according to the law, is decisive in determining whether a substance is illegal.
Products with at least 1.0% THC are prohibited narcotics. Hash is illegal regardless of the THC content. weed and hash contain about 5 to 20 % THC.
The THC content can also be measured in the blood.

THC carboxylic acid (THC-COOH)
A metabolic breakdown product of THC and not psychoactive. Rapid tests detect this substance in urine.
Measured in the blood, it indicates the amount of THC consumed.
contravention or misdemeanor?
A contravention is the smallest illegal act and is punished with fine or a fine.
A misdemeanor is more serious and results in a fine, monetary penalty in daily rates or imprisonment and an entry in the criminal record (removal usually after 10 years).
Violations expire after 3, misdemeanor after 10 or 15 years.

Conditional and unconditional penalty
A conditional fine or prison sentence is not enforced, but is reviewed for a few years to see if the convicted person will reoffend.
In this case, a court may declare the sentence unconditional and enforce it.

en/thc_recht/einleitung.txt · Last modified: 2021/10/18 17:19 (external edit)
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Legal Aid Brochure

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Shit happens, 14th edition summer 2021

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