Iceland May Legalize Cannabis Usage

A bill has been put forth by a member of Iceland’s Reform Party, MP Pawel Bartoszek, which would put in place the foundation of a recreational cannabis program in that country. The bill covers various aspects of adult usage, including the production and sales, and most importantly, the decriminalization of cannabis possession and consumption. The main points of the bill came directly from a guide issued by the UK advocacy group Transform, the guide being entitled “How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide”.

Iceland May Legalize Cannabis Usage

Who would be affected? 

Under the provisions of the bill, Iceland adults aged 20 and above would be affected, with cannabis usage, production, and sales becoming legal for that entire age group. At the same time, it would require a ban on all advertising of cannabis, presumably so as to prevent pitches from reaching under-age ears, and it would be packaged in plain gray containers, devoid of excitement or appeal. Sales to minors would remain illegal and carry a heavy fine for anyone caught.

According to MP Bartoszek, the aim of his bill is to spark needed discussion and debate about legalization and about how to regulate sales and production of cannabis, so the government can share in tax revenues. “If the production and sale remains illegal, we miss the opportunity to control access, protect children and minors, and to tax consumption”, says Bartoszek, adding ”I hope that the bill will be an icebreaker that spurs debate, and that it will ultimately lead to us ceasing the punishment of people for consuming this specific substance.”

Supporters and opponents

Bartoszek’s comments to the Iceland Review, and similar comments posted on his website have gained popular support in the country thus far, and with other members of his Reform Party. The bill will likely be reviewed sometime after October 28th, when Iceland will have a general election. Three co-sponsors have added their support to the bill, all members of the Reform Party, but of course there are also opponents who are loudly voicing their opposition, and insisting on a more conservative approach.

It’s hard to say at this point what the real level of support for the bill might be, but that will probably become more obvious in November. Bartoszek himself feels that the bill has strong support, but is worried that the first wave of reform might only embrace decriminalization rather than full legalization. In his mind, this would be a mistake, since it misses the opportunity to control access, pricing, and tax revenues which would be generated by regulation.

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn via CC-By-2.0