Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir intends to submit a bill to Parliament in March next year, permitting the sale of alcohol in online stores without the involvement of the government. Currently, people are only allowed to purchase alcohol in foreign online stores, but they must pay a hefty tax.
The Icelandic Postal Service (Íslandspóstur) has a plan for alcohol sales and distribution if the legal framework for online sales changes next year, Fréttablaðið reports.
“When we heard about the plans, we began to draw up a solution that would allow us to quickly distribute alcohol through our distribution system, ensure that the recipient is the same person who ordered, and make sure they are above the legal drinking age,” Birgir Jónsson, CEO of Íslandspóstur, told Fréttablaðið. “We are ready to jump on the bandwagon if the law changes.”
Áslaug Arna has long been an advocate of allowing for the sale of alcohol in private shops. However, she faces some opposition. The Left-Green party has long opposed the privatisation of alcohol sales, especially since the Independence Party stood up in Parliament after the 2008 economic crash and raised the privatisation of alcohol sales as the very first point.
The leader of the Brussels office of IOGT-NTO, Kalle Dramstad, also implores the authorities to reject the bill. He argues that the Áslaug’s campaign to privatise alcohol sales is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the rules that it cites. His view is that privatisation of alcohol retail sales is associated with a dramatic increase in consumption.
For the record, IOGT-NTO formed in 1970 as a merger between the Swedish chapter of the International Organisation of Good Templars, and Nationaltemplarorden, which is a Swedish Christian temperance organisation. The organisation strongly advocates total abstinence from alcohol amongst its own members and society at large.
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