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Swiss High Court Reclassifies Ecstasy as
a "Soft" Drug


Summer 1999

On June 15, Switzerland's supreme court, the Federal Tribunal, overturned a one-year prison sentence levied by a state court in Bern on a man convicted of selling 1,000 tablets of ecstasy. The court also confirmed a nine-month sentence given to another man for selling 1,350 tablets by rejecting a plea for a longer sentence from the state of Aargau. The tribunal said that ecstasy is primarily used by "socially integrated people" and generally does not lead to criminal behavior. The court maintained that there is no reason to believe that it poses a serious health risk. It pointed to medical evidence showing it was less dangerous than cocaine and heroin and not addictive (Jon Henley, "Swiss Go Soft on Ecstasy," The Guardian, June 18, 1999; "Swiss Court Downgrades Ecstasy Drug," Associated Press, June15, 1999; "Swiss Drug Charge," USA Today, June 16, 1999, p. 13A).

Swiss Federal Tribunal - Mon Repos, 1000 Lausanne 14, Switzerland, Tel: 011-41-21-323-3700, Fax: 011-41-21-318-9111.