From Iceland — Parliament Possibly Softening On Drugs And Alcohol

Parliament Possibly Softening On Drugs And Alcohol

Published March 16, 2016

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Silje Bergum Kinsten/

A committee majority has passed a bill legalising alcohol sold in private stores, and a push to decriminalise drugs has been gaining ground.

MBL reports that the majority of the Judicial Affairs and Education Committee have passed a bill that would legalise the sale of alcohol in private shops. The bill has the support of members of the Independence Party, the Progressive Party, the Pirate Party and Bright Future.

Part of the success of the bill’s passage can be attributed to one key change: instead of the alcohol tax going to the Public Health Fund in its entirety, half of the proceeds will go to the fund and the other half will go to the police, if the bill is made into law. Independence Party MP Vil­hjálm­ur Árnason, who is the main proponent of the bill, is himself a former police officer.

In related news, Vísir reports that many members of parliament who took part in a discussion about drugs yesterday professed a positive outlook towards decriminalisation for possession of drugs for personal consumption.

While all members of parliament were on board with this idea, some wanted to go even further. Pirate Party MP Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson told parliament that he supports legalising all drugs, as the war on drugs has proven both costly and ineffective. This position is very similar to that taken by Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson in 2014.

Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal told parliament that while she believes drugs should be regarded as primarily a health matter rather than a criminal one, she considers it important to wait for the conclusions of a Health Ministry workgroup on the matter before making any final decisions.

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