A wider trend for drug law reform is arising out of a felt need to make legislation more effective and more humane. Within this trend, a number of countries have considered decriminalisation or depenalisation models and many have, at least initially, considered threshold quantities as a good way to distinguish between what is possession and what is supply or trafficking and as a means to ensure that the sentences imposed are proportionate to the harmfulness of the offence.

The TNI-EMCDDA Expert seminar on threshold quantities took place in Lisbon, in January 2011. The participants reflected on the advantages and disadvantages of threshold quantities as a policy and legislative tool. The seminar aimed to provide a springboard to inform current debate and to assist the elaboration of evidence-based drug law reform proposals now and in the future.

The seminar was held under Chatham House rule to ensure confidentiality and to allow participants a free exchange of ideas. A total of 25 people attended and comprised a mixture of the judiciary, current and past domestic and international policy makers, and also representatives of non-governmental organisations and academic institutions. The agenda focused on the following two themes:
  • The state of the debate in the EU; and,
  • Law reform proposals and the threshold dilemma.
Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.