LEGAL STATUS OF CANNABIS IN AUSTRIA
1. Consumption and possession
By legal definition, the ‘use’ of Cannabis is not illegal but any other form of dealing with the substance is; especially production, possession, taking it across national borders and passing it on to others. So in practice, only smoking in an unconscious condition would not be illegal. The police have to report offences to the public prosecutor. Then the case may be put aside under probation or you are „invited“ to see the public health medical officer who then decides if you need any kind of therapy. If you do not agree to undergo the suggested therapy you will be formally convicted by court to pay a fine. The Administrative Court has ruled 1999 und dozens of times since then that consuming cannabis from time to time does not endanger your driving license, unless you drive in an intoxicated condition.
In 2008 growing cannabis became legally “privileged”, meaning that it is less severely prosecuted than “producing”. Producing starts when you separate the buds from the plant. Producing more than 20 grams of THC (“big amount”), which equals to 200 grams of weed with 10 percent THC, is considered a major crime and the prosecutors add all harvests of your lifetime. Thus make sure you get rid of any remnant of past crops and don’t keep a log about your success as a gardener.
Distributing more than 20 grams of THC is considered a major crime regardless whether you make money by trafficking or you just invite your friends for a smoke. So you always smoked by yourself in case you want to tell the police anything (not clear what is meant here). The prosecutors add all the amounts passed on so even if you have never been convicted before you get about 4 years in prison for passing on 40 – 50 kg. Prison sentences without probation start at about 2 – 3 kg. If the sentence is not more than 3 years your may undergo a therapy instead in case you are a smoker yourself and then get probation.
4. Provision of seeds, tools to produce and consume cannabis etc.
“Hemp shops” are more or less “tolerated” by the prosecutors. In spite of that people running hemp shops or only working there contribute to the crime of producing by selling seeds or small plants. If you are lucky the prosecutors can not proof any certain amount produced. If you are not your customers let the police know how much weed they got out of your seeds or plants. You are then liable for the whole amount and may go to prison as well. The same applies to mere paraphernalia but there has not been a conviction by the Supreme Court based only on selling producing tools. The only way to get out would be to convince the judge that you believed your costumer pays 50 cents per seed to grow bird feed.
Contact for Drug Policy Activism in Austria: Andreas Holy