Drug smokers caught with small amounts of cannabis are to be given police warnings to save time spent on prosecutions.
The Recorded Police Warnings will also replace formal charges for small-time shoplifters and people who urinate in the street.
The shake-up, which applies in Scotland, is aimed at dealing with petty crimes more quickly and efficiently.
But police chiefs stress that the change will not mean all dope smokers get let off.
They say officers will deal with each incident on its merits – and users caught with the drug in cars or while looking after children could end up in more serious trouble.