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criminal law

From possession to trafficking and manufacturing drugs

Far-reaching investigative powers against drug-related crime

In narcotics criminal law, the far-reaching investigative powers granted to the police and public prosecutor’s office are particularly drastic for those affected. Surveillance of landline and mobile phones, house searches, the use of undercover agents and provisional arrests are all part of daily police routine in the fight against drugs. All too often, such investigations are based on a few suspicious facts. As a result, there is hardly any other criminal offence where the rights of those affected are so quickly and significantly infringed. That’s why the help of criminal lawyer specialised in narcotic law is advisable. 

What is punishable? 

With the legalisation of cannabis on 1 April 2024, some of the previously punishable acts will no longer apply.

Now permitted is:

  • Possession and carrying of 25 grams of cannabis.
  • Possession of 50 grams of dried cannabis at your place of residence.
  • Cultivation of up to three cannabis plants per adult in the household.


The following is still prohibited:

  • Any sale by private individuals, especially to minors.
  • Cultivation of more than three hemp plants.
  • Possession, purchase and sale by minors.


The criminal liability of possession, purchase and sale of other drugs such as Cocaine, LSD, MDMA and others remains unchanged. This also applies to small quantities of these narcotics, Section 29 para. 1 of the German Narcotics Act (BtMG). However, if it is a small quantity for personal use, prosecution can be waived in accordance with Section 29 para. 5 of the German Narcotics Act (BtMG). The limits vary from state to state and depends on the active substance content of the narcotic.

Criminal offences are:

  • Possession of drugs
  • Cultivation and production of drugs
  • Import and export of drugs
  • Acquisition of drugs
  • Trafficking in drugs

What are drugs / narcotics?

Narcotic drugs (“Betäubungsmittel”, BtM) as defined by the German Narcotic Drugs Act (Betäubungsmittelgesetz, BtMG) are the substances and preparations listed in Schedules I to III of that Act. The BtMG prohibits substances which, due to their effects, can cause addiction and pose a health risk to the user.

Prohibited substances include in particular

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Hashish and Marijuana
  • LSD and MDMA
  • Methamphetamine
  • Morphine
  • Bethamethadol

Consequences in narcotics criminal law

In drug related cases prison sentences are not rare. But the additional penalties should not be ignored either, particularly relevant is a possible driving ban. This is why it is particularly important in criminal law relating to narcotics to be defended by an experienced and competent lawyer who not only actively steers the proceedings in your favour, but also keeps an eye on all possible consequences.

If a conviction for a drug offence is unavoidable, special considerations must also be taken into account regarding the enforcemtent of the sentence. Placement in addiction treatment facility the person concerned can be compulsorily placed in a rehab centre, Section 64 of the German Criminal Code (StGB). On the other hand, the person concerned also has the option of applying for a suspended sentence in accordance with Section 35 BtMG. This allows them to voluntarily replace the execution of a sentence in a correctional centre with therapeutic treatment, so-called “therapy instead of punishment”.

Sandra Korzenski

Specialist lawyer for criminal law

Rechtsanwältin Sandra Korzenski Fachanwältin für Strafrecht und Dozentin

Lawyer for criminal law • Criminal Defense Lawyer • Specialist lawyer for criminal law

Sandra Korzenski
Lawyer & Lecturer
Specialist lawyer for criminal law

Nürnberger Straße 16
10789 Berlin
(at KaDeWe)