Designer drugs and legislation in Hungary and Europe

In the past decades both legislation, law enforcement and also the press witnessed the phenomenon of the emerging of a grey market of designer drugs, or research chemicals. These chemicals are functional or structural analogues of controlled and illegal substances usually designed or prepared in clandestine laboratories.

The classic and traditional Criminal Law regulation could not keep up with these chemical modifications and therefore this market qualified legally for long as white (or rather grey)

European and Hungarian legislation naturally tried to expand the scope of their Criminal Law to these new substances. So the legislators gradually made many newly marketed substances to qualify as drugs. Besides this EU law introduced the category of new psychoactive substances’ and by this made it much easier to react to the changes on the drug market.

But still the fact is that in different countries the different substances (designer drugs or research chemicals) became illegal at different times.

Extradition issues related to drugs

This fact makes the criminal jurisdiction complicated in these case.  What is more: it is even more complicated in case of extraditions and surrenders (surrender is the form of extradition in case of European Arrest Warrants)

Complicity of the question results from the principle of ‘Double Criminality’. Double Criminality requires states participating in extraditions or other forms of international cooperation to check if both countries’ Criminal Law defines the certain act or human behaviour as a criminal offence.

By knowing the principle of double criminality we can easily understand why extradition shall be denied by a country which has or once had a different list of designer drugs on his list of drugs than the requesting county.

But what is the situation in case of European Arrest Warrants? We know that one of the main goals of the introduction of European Arrest Warrants was undermining the principle of double criminality in the name of the principle of ‘Mutual Trust’ between the jurisdictions of the Member States.

So I will continue soon with this issue…