Germany sharpens penalties for methamphetamines

A German court sharpened penalties for methamphetamine posession on Wednesday in a preliminary ruling that called the drug particularly dangerous to users.

Germany sharpens penalties for methamphetamines
Crystal meth confiscated by authorities in Saxony in 2006. Photo: DPA

The court in Karlsruhe called for the threshold of punishable possession of methamphetamine, otherwise known as crystal or meth, to be lowered from 30 grammes to five grammes.

Because the new limit is a departure from a previous high court ruling in 2001, other criminal chambers will be called upon to review the ruling. Approval is expected, and a final ruling is expected within weeks.

The previous limit for crystal meth was set to correspond to that of other amphetamine derivatives such as speed and Ecstasy. In its Wednesday ruling, the court said crystal meth’s effects are more dangerous than those of other so-called “designer drugs.”

“The effects and dangers of methamphetamine are much more comparable to those of the cocaine derivative crack,” the ruling concluded.

Experts in the Wednesday court session testified that crystal meth is up to twice as intense and potentially much more addictive than the amphetamine derivatives present in Ecstasy.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.