From Iceland — Health Minister Open To Medical Marijuana

Health Minister Open To Medical Marijuana

Published November 14, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Rusty Blazenhoff

Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson said he considers legalising medical marijuana a possibility, and trusts the professionals where the subject is concerned.

Recently, more Icelanders have been coming forward as self-medicating with marijuana, which is still illegal in Iceland, even for medical use. Kristján told reporters, however, that he was not opposed to the idea of legalising marijuana for medical purposes.

“It is our duty to thoroughly examine every possibility when it comes to relieving the suffering of people or curing disease,” he told reporters. “If [medical marijuana] is one way to do that, then of course we should examine that possibility.”

Kristján said he trusts the opinions of medical professionals, some of whom have come out in support of the idea. He also said that he disagrees with the notion that the issue is political.

“Not at all,” he said. “My duty is to work with the healthcare system such that we cure disease and relieve suffering, and that is the primary duty of the healthcare system.”

Kristján has been very open on the subject already. As reported, the Ministry of Health will early next year start assembling a focus group to examine social services for drug users, increase preventative and education measures, and look into the logistics of decriminalising or possibly legalising illicit substances.

In addition, Kristján told a conference of young conservatives last February, “I am very supportive of the opinion that we ought to try to decriminalise [drug] use in this matter.”

Taking questions from the audience, the minister was asked if he believed that even the most basic drug laws need review, to which he replied, “That’s what I’m offering. I am convinced that we need to try other remedies.”

Kristján is also no stranger to first-hand knowledge of drug use, telling reporters last month that he used to do drugs, without specifying which drugs he used, saying, “I will not disclose that. No one is interested in hearing that.”

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