On Sept 20, legislation was proposed by an Icelandic member of Parliament (MP) to regulate marijuana in the country. One of the reasons for the bill is to reduce the harms that prohibition causes. The legislation was proposed by MP Pawel Bartoszek.
If the legislation is passed it would legalize marijuana cultivation, transportation, sale, use and retail stores and cafes in a taxed and regulated market, according to Talking Drugs. The cafes would allow for the on-site consumption of marijuana. The legal age to purchase and use marijuana would be age 20.
The bill would prohibit alcohol anywhere that marijuana is sold. Marijuana packaging would be plain with information regarding potential health risks.
MP Bartoszek took guidance from the How to Regulate Cannabis: A Practical Guide that was published by Transform out of the UK. Marijuana advertising would not be allowed because the guide claims that there “is a well-established link between exposure to alcohol and tobacco marketing, branding and advertising and increased use of drugs. So, it is reasonable to assume similar marketing would drive an expansion in use of cannabis.”
Bartoszek is a Liberal. He says that legalizing marijuana is a means of “real harm reduction, based on a scientific approach.”
In Iceland, roughly 1,000 persons are arrested annually for marijuana-related offenses. Bartoszek says that decriminalization is a progressive step, but he prefers to see a legally regulated market. He believes that legal regulation will be effective as Iceland would be able to “supervise production, manage accessibility, protect children and young people, and tax the consumption.”
Currently, marijuana use on Iceland is considered to be at a moderate level with roughly 6.6 percent of Icelandic adults using marijuana at least one time a year.
Support for Bartoszek’s bill has begun with a few MPs from Iceland’s Pirate Party backing the legislation. Support for the bill in higher levels of Parliament has not been established yet.
A 2016 survey indicates that 77 percent of Iceland’s residents don’t want legalization. This is a 10 percent drop since the previous poll in 2011.