IDPC/TNI Series on legislative reform of drug policies No 14 - Conviction by numbers: Threshold quantities for drug policy

19 May 2011

Threshold quantities (TQs) for drug law and policy are being experimented with across many jurisdictions. States seem attracted to their apparent simplicity and use them to determine, for example, whether: a possession or supply offence is made out (e.g. Greece); a matter should be diverted away from the criminal justice system (e.g. Portugal); or a case should fall within a certain sentencing range (e.g. UK).

Looking at examples from the EU and beyond, however, it is becoming clear that there are no ‘magic numbers’ in drug policy and that this tool brings its own complications and pit-falls.

This briefing, written by the Transnational Institute in collaboration with IDPC, provides an overview of the current discussion around TQs and explores the mechanism of TQs including their benefits and drawbacks as a policy and legal tool.

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