In Cyprus, drugs are classified as A, B or C according to their level of harm, with class A drugs causing the most harm. Penalties for drug use in Cyprus are up to life imprisonment for all classes, but this has never been implemented. Possession for personal use is regarded as a serious criminal offence, punishable by up to 12 years in prison for class A drugs, eight years for class B and four years for class C. However, first-time offenders aged under 25 are not given sentences of more than one year. There is also an ongoing effort to promote the implementation of alternative measures to imprisonment in the criminal justice system. In the pre-trial phase, there is an alternative to prosecution for young drug offenders arrested for the first time. Moreover, legislation has recently been passed by the House of Representatives that provides for the referral of drug users to treatment instead of imprisonment (see the section ‘Prevention’).
In 2003, limits on the quantities allowed for personal use were introduced; possession of a quantity of a substance above the assigned limit may lead to the presumption that the person intended to sell the substance. The limits include three or more cannabis plants, 30 g or more of cannabis or its products and 10 g or more of prepared cocaine or opium (or its derivatives). Trafficking class A or B drugs may be punished by up to life in prison, while trafficking class C drugs carries a penalty of up to eight years’ imprisonment.
In 2011, Cyprus began implementing a generic approach to control various groups of substances. The procedure is supported by an ad hoc committee operating under the CAC, comprising experts from different public services.
Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug-related crime and are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug market dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.
The statistical data on DLOs from Cyprus indicate that, in 2015, the majority of offences were related to use or possession and the drug most likely to be involved was cannabis
Legal penalties: the possibility of incarceration for possession of drugs for personal use (minor offence)
NBYear of data 2015.
Reported drug law offences and offenders in Cyprus
NBYear of data 2015.