Drug use and Possession

Whoever acquires, possesses, produces, import, exports, delivers or supplies drugs to somebody or to a third person can be sentenced to up to 6 months of prison or to the payment of a fine of up to 360 times the daily unit fine.

Up to three years of prison if he/she has put a minor in a position of using (consuming) a drug and he/she is an adult and 2 years older than the minor; if the crime was committed with commercial purposes, or if the person is member of a criminal band. (If the author of these crimes is in a state of drug addiction and he has committed the above mentioned crimes with the sole purpose of obtaining the drug or the means for acquisition of a drug exclusively for his own personal consumption, the sentence will be only up to 6 months of prison or the payment of a fine of up to 360 times the daily unit fine.)

Criteria taken into account in practice when prosecuting to divide the two illegal acts are:
• The quantity: small or large;
• The frequency of use by the person – occasional or regular;
• The nature of the substance

The lower bound for "large quantity" and therefore the dividing criterion between petty and serious offences for each drug is expressed in terms of the pure substance:
• 20g cannabis
• 3g heroin
• 15g cocaine
• 10g amphetamines
• 30g MDMA, MBDB, MDE, etc.

Production, Acquisition, Possession, Import, Export, Supply, and Distribution of Large Quantities

Up to 3 years for acquiring or possessing a large quantity of drugs with the intention of having it distributed.

Up to 5 years (basic offence) in case of production, import, export or distribution of large quantities of drugs, activities strongly connected to the concept of drug trafficking.

Penalties will be increased to between 1 and 10 years when the person acts commercially or as a member of a gang; and between 1 and 15 years if he/she is a member of a gang with a previous conviction for drug trafficking; member of a criminal gang of more than 10 people created to commit drug-trafficking offences; or in cases involving 25 times more than the 'large quantity'. If he/she is the leader of a drug-trafficking organisation, the sentence will be between 10 and 20 years or lifelong.

Substitution Treatment

The public prosecutor is obliged to suspend proceedings for a probationary period of two years if the person is charged with illegal acquisition or possession of a small amount of drugs for personal use. This is conditional on the opinion of the health authority that determines whether or not the offender needs health-related measures. However if, during the period of suspension, the person commits another crime foreseen in the same drug law, or a crime, by reason of his addiction, to obtain the drug, or if the person refuses to continue the therapeutic programme or the psychological counselling, normal prosecution takes over. If not, the case will be closed when the offender proves to the public prosecutor the successful conclusion of the programme.

The public prosecutor may waive proceedings without having applied for the opinion of the health authority if a person is exclusively charged with acquisition or possession of a small quantity of cannabis for his own personal use and there is no doubt that no health-related measure is necessary, and if there has not been any report of the police concerning this person due to the same offence.

If the person has been prosecuted and sentenced for a drug law offence not higher than 2 years the court is obliged to suspend the execution of the sentence if the person shows his will to undergo the necessary therapeutic treatment. If successfully concluded the penalty has to be reviewed. From the interpretation of the law and the related orders, the therapeutic treatment is not only based on the abstention of the use of narcotics but also on substitution treatment.


Up to two years' imprisonment for purchase or possession of precursors with the knowledge that it will be used to manufacture large quantities of narcotics and/or psychotropic substances, and five years' imprisonment for manufacturing, importing, exporting or putting on the market a precursor, with similar knowledge. Breaches of licensing or documentation requirements may result in an administrative fine of up to €36,300.

Substances may also be confiscated if there is a violation of the requirements to avoid diversion to production of illicit narcotics and/or psychotropic substances.