Legal Definition of Personal Use Amounts in German Law
"Most of the Laender have introduced comparable threshold values for 'small amounts' (upper/lower limit) of cannabis. The limits set by the individual Laender are guideline values from which public prosecutors and judges may diverge in individual cases. It is important to note that there exists, also in respect of these regulations, no legal claim whereby in the relevant cases the prosecution of the possession of small quantities of drugs shall be discontinued. If a sentence is not handed down, this does not automatically mean that the crime has no consequences. Public prosecutors have the right to stop proceedings under certain conditions (e.g. community service, fines or counselling in a social institution).
"On 3 December 2008, the Federal German Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) lowered the 'non-small' amount for methamphetamine from 30 grams methamphetamine base to 5 grams in a principle-establishing ruling. In view of the scientific findings gathered on the toxicity of methamphetamine over the last ten years, the Senate considered it necessary to change the existing law and lower the threshold value. Contrary to a Land Court, the BGH fixed the threshold value not to five gram methamphetamine hydrochloride but to methamphetamine base (for more details see also Patzak 2009). With its ruling of 17 November 2011, the BGH stipulated the non-small amount of racemic methamphetamine as 10g of the effect inducing base. Upwards of this amount, the offender is no longer merely committing a misdemeanour as per Sec. 29 Par. 1 BtMG which provides as possible sanctions monetary fines or imprisonment up to five years, rather he would be facing imprisonment of no less than one or two years.
"Already in April 2007, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) rendered a ruling defining the 'non-small amount' of buprenorphine. With that, the Federal High Court of Justice added another decision to the series of landmark rulings on 'non-small amounts' in which it dealt for the first time with a substance used in substitution therapy that has also made its appearance on the illicit market causing some concern (Winkler 2007). The 'non-small amount' in the wording of the BtMG does not refer to – contrary to the term 'small amount' – the weight of the seized substance but to the active ingredient contained in the substance.
"Only a few federal states have explicitly defined regulations for discontinuing prosecution in connection with other narcotic drugs. They provide for the possibility to discontinue prosecution in the case of heroin (1 g), cocaine (depending on the federal state: 0.5 – 3 g), amphetamines (0.5 – 3 g) and ecstasy (between 3 and less than 20 tablets) (Patzak & Bohnen 2011)."
German Reference Centre for the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Deutsche Beobachtungsstelle fuer Drogen und Drogensucht (DBDD)), "2012 National Report to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point: Germany: New Developments, Trends and In-Depth Information on Selected Issues - Drug Situation 2011/2012" (Munich, Germany: DBDD, Oct. 2012), pp. 5-6.