An MP for the Independence Party, himself a former police officer, says that Iceland’s current punitive policy towards drug use “does not work”.
Vísir reports that Vilhjálmur Árnason, an MP for the Independence Party, was one of the speakers for a parliamentary proposal (.pdf file) from the Pirate Party calling for drug law reform. The proposal has support from members of every party in parliament.
“Sentencing doesn’t seem to have any effect,” Vilhjálmur told parliament. “I see the current policy doesn’t work, and in many cases it can get in the way.”
Explaining his position further, he elaborated, “Maybe you’re young, you start using, and you don’t know what you’re doing. Then maybe you come to your senses and want to change, but so much has been shut off to you because you have a criminal record, owe the state money and have to work it off.”
Vilhjálmur believes rather that the state should provide assistance for those who abuse drugs, whilst maintaining a strict supervisory mechanism – to help prevent, for example, people driving under the influence of drugs.
As reported, Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson recently publicly expressed the desire to see a drug policy change, saying in part, “I am very supportive of the opinion that we ought to try to de-criminalise [drug] use in this matter.”