sh17schweizneu.jpg

Does the law apply throughout Switzerland?

Nationwide law, cantonal criminal prosecution

The Narcotics Act is a nationwide law. It is therefore generally applicable everywhere. No canton can evade it - all police forces, district attorneys' offices and courts are obliged to enforce the law. But this does not mean that it is applied in exactly the same way everywhere, because criminal prosecution is a matter for the cantons. They set the priorities and may well deal differently with the one law. Thus, there are different penalties for smoking pot and the strength of the prosecution is also different.

Some differences

In urban regions, there are generally more referrals: Many “suspects” are checked in the urban centers (city, train station, parks, scene meeting places) - and reported. There are certainly also many people who smoke pot who do not live there, but go to buy weed or hash and are then checked in the alley. In the cities, too, people are smoking pot more openly: young people still smoke pot very openly at the lake, in parks or on squares. And that can have consequences, of course.

It is certainly astonishing that central Switzerland - otherwise not exactly known as a liberal region - has only a few convictions. The difference between urban and rural areas is very clear in the two half-cantons Baselland (low rate) and Baselstadt (high rate).

Another major difference is found between the German-speaking cantons and the French-speaking ones. In French-speaking Switzerland, alcohol, especially wine, is still the central intoxicant. It seems that the very positive view of alcohol both denies its problems and demonizes other psychoactive substances all the more for it.

Geneva is the exception in the French-speaking part of Switzerland - there are a similar number of reprimands as in Bern. Exceptions to the rule in German-speaking Switzerland are Zurich, Aargau, Baselstadt and Schaffhausen, which have an above-average number of referrals.

One commonality

Despite all the differences between the cantons, there is of course one thing in common: All of them prosecute people who smoke pot. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but no canton has completely stopped prosecuting (see also here for the Basel model).

The map from 2008

A map from 2003

Despite all the differences between the cantons, there is of course one thing in common: All of them prosecute people who smoke pot. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but no canton has stopped prosecuting altogether (see Basel model).

sh1717.pdf

sh1717.jpg
Last modified: 2023/12/22 21:16

Share page: facebook X (Twitter)

Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

This overview as PDF