A recent court ruling highlights the impacts of the new narcotics law.
Although he had harvested more than 10 kg of cannabis leaves, an
Austrian man was not sentenced and the public prosecutor recently
dismissed the case – with a two-year probation period. According to the
new law the prosecutor must refrain from prosecution if the suspect
possessed the drug exclusively for personal use. However, if the suspect
is again found to possess cannabis within the probation period he is
threatened by prosecution since cannabis possession is not legal under
the new law.
Prior to January 1, 2008, dismissal of a case was only possible if the
suspect had been in possession of a “minor quantity” of a drug. For
cannabis, that quantity was, as in Germany, in the range of a few grams.
The revised law now no longer considers the quantity but the personal
use of a drug. In the current case where the defendant had harvested
leaves from allegedly discovered hemp field there was no evidence for
his intent to sell the material. The main motivation for the recent
amendment to the law was, according to responsibles at the Ministry of
Justice an EU decision regarding the fight against drugs. It had
tightened measures against drug dealers. However, it was felt that this
amendment required a stronger separation of drug dealing from personal use.
Translated from OÖnachrichtenRepublish