The hemp tracking in 2015

In 2015, the number of prosecutions knew only one direction: upward. The decline in 2014 was more than made up for. Especially the prosecution of hemp seed imports is now reflected in the statistics, most notably in the frequency of misdemeanor.

The prosecution of contraventions


Consumption of cannabis and all preparatory acts for own consumption (NarcA 19a)

In 2015, hemp prosecution in Switzerland now concerns almost 50,000 different people among the users, who were accused of more than 50,000 criminal offenses (consumption as well as possession, cultivation, storage, importation of hash and weed for personal use). This means that there was an upward jump again in 2015 - in 2014, the numbers had fallen slightly for the first time.

2015 is now the second full year in which cannabis violations recorded by the police can end in both a report (and a fine with fees ranging from 200 to 1,000 in most cases francs) and a fine (uniformly 100 francs). The graph on page 3 shows that about one third of the hemp violations punished by the police are punished with fines (orange bars). The other two thirds are still reported (green bars).

Two thirds of the repression: reprimands

35,874 offenses related to consumption and preparatory acts were reported to the police; this involved 30,537 defendants. The referrals are divided into three categories, which we have shown in green: So-called “consumption” referrals in dark green, and the two types of referrals “cultivation/manufacture” (very few cases) and “possession/preparation” in light green. All these convictions concern consumption and/or possession for personal use.

These are each broken down by number of defendants and by number of offenses. Therefore, we have presented two graphs on the page before: The first one on the left for the evolution in the number of defendants and the second one on the right for the evolution by number of offenses.

A third of repression: fixed penalties

All cantons now issue fixed penalties (OB). However, the differences are enormous. 18,319 OBs for cannabis use were issued throughout Switzerland in 2015.

The OB are shown in orange in both graphs on page 3. Even if the figures cannot be compared exactly, they give an impression of the enormous number and the shifts from referrals to the new fines. However, even if the number of reprimands has decreased in recent years and one third of them have been replaced by OB, the number of reprimands in 2015 is almost as high as it was in 2009 - the growth of repression seems to be unstoppable.

Totaled reprimands and fines

Every report, every OB is a police intervention, an intrusion into a person's private life. In this sense, OB can well be added to the reported crimes, resulting in a total of 54,193 prosecuted offenses.

However, if we want to know how many different people were affected by cannabis repression, we have to add the OB to the accused, even if the number of accused with 48,856 is somewhat too high (because individuals may well have received one report and one OB or two OB in one year, which is not broken down in this way).

Limitations of statistics

By the way: There are also reports of hashish and weed. These then end up in an only rudimentarily broken down category of “several substances”. Our graphs therefore show figures that are too low. But the order of magnitude is clear: we are talking about tens of thousands of prosecutions per year, just for consumption and preparatory acts.

The prosecution of the misdemeanor


Distribution as well as sale of cannabis (NarcA 19)

The hemp prosecution in Switzerland concerned in giving away and selling illegal hemp products for several years every year 7'000 +/- 1'000 different people who were accused of such crimes (handling hash and weed not for own consumption). Now in 2015 there was a huge jump. On the graph we see for the first time over 10'000 referrals for distribution/trafficking: 10'714 defendants were accused of 11'861 such misdemeanor.

The two areas of the misdemeanor

misdemeanor are divided into two areas: “light case” (giving away and trading up to a few thousand francs) and “serious case” (turnover over 100,000 francs or profit of 10,000 francs, minimum 12 months imprisonment). Most misdemeanor prosecutions concern the “light case”. Here, the number of defendants has increased to 10,316. In the “serious” cases, the number of persons prosecuted has fallen to 398.

Here, however, one must see that these are referrals or referred persons of one year. The statistics do not tell us how many and what sentences result from them. They only record the police referrals. In the case of consumption cases, the number of reprimands should also correspond roughly to the number of fines actually issued. However, in the case of misdemeanor, especially in serious cases, it can take months or even years for a verdict to become legally binding. In addition, there are always cases where someone is reported for a misdemeanor, but then, because it is not provable, is “only” convicted for a contravention. This might have been the case with some hemp seed cases, even if we really have seen many summary penalty orders for an offense for hemp seed orders. Therefore: these numbers do not indicate the number of sentences, but the number of people affected by police repression in this area.

The ratio of hash to weed

For acts of consumption, we are unable to break down into hash and weed because this information is not recorded at fines. With the misdemeanor, however, this is still possible. We see that there were many more referrals for weed (2015: 9,996 defendants) than for hash (2015: 713 defendants). Our category “Hash” includes the statistical categories hashish and hashish oil as well as the new category “Synthetic Cannabinoids”. Our “weed” category includes cannabis, hemp (young plant), hemp (plant dried), hemp (plant fresh), marijuana, and hemp seeds.

Source Federal Statistical Office, Police Crime Statistics, Annual Reports 2009 to 2015: table of convictions by substance and table of fines (only for 2013 to 2015). Graphics and calculations by us.

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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