New Legislation In Iceland Could Decriminalise Buying, Possessing Or Receiving Drugs - The Reykjavik Grapevine

New Legislation In Iceland Could Decriminalise Buying, Possessing Or Receiving Drugs

Published October 10, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Jón Benediktsson

A new bill submitted to the Icelandic Parliament hopes to provide protections to those who buy and use controlled substances, while still criminalising the production and sale of them.

The new bill—led by Pirate Party MP Halldóra Mogensen and eight other MPs from the Pirates, the Social Democrats, the Left-Greens (the party which leads the government), the Reform Party and the People’s Party—is a revision of the existing drug laws, which criminalises all drug activity absolutely.

If the changes proposed in the bill pass, it will thereafter decriminalise buying, receiving or possessing drugs, provided they are beneath a volume considered to be solely for personal use.

The bill itself is a natural extension of a related bill, submitted by Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir, which seeks to establish safe injection sites in Reykjavík. That is, that safe injection sites carry with it the implication that drug users deserve additional legal protections.

As a whole, the bill approaches drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one.

“The departure from a penal policy towards drug use which focuses on stabilising the user has been spreading around the world and is based upon providing users with the proper services they need,” the bill concludes. “By passing this bill, Iceland will put itself at the forefront in regards to health services and a humane approach towards those who use drugs.”

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