Germany sharpens penalties for methamphetamines

Germany sharpens penalties for methamphetamines
Crystal meth confiscated by authorities in Saxony in 2006. Photo: DPA
A German court sharpened penalties for methamphetamine posession on Wednesday in a preliminary ruling that called the drug particularly dangerous to users.

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.