Sixty percent of Icelanders support the decriminalization of drug use, according to a new survey by the University of Iceland’s Social Sciences Institute, Fréttablaðið reports.
This is a significant change compared to previous surveys, where only a third of Icelanders were in favour.
Crimonlogist Helgi Gunnlaugsson and sociologist Jónas Orri Jónasson commissioned the survey. “Two years ago, few people knew what the decriminalization of consumption doses was,” says Helgi. “Now there is a lot of discussion and the ruling parties in society have started to speak for it.”
How the times are changing
Over the years, many Icelanders thought that drug offenses caused the most problems in the country but now that perspective has changed.
30% consider sexual offenses to be the most serious, followed by economic offenses with 26%, which were measured low before the bank collapse.
Drugs are increasingly being seen as a health issue and not a crime. “Fear of drugs has diminished and people are ready to look for new ways to deal with them,” Helgi said.
The major change in attitudes mostly come with cannabis and not other harder substances. Almost half of men want to legalize cannabis but only a quarter of women.
Just over a third are in favour of legalizing cannabis and support decreases with age. The survey only took into account cannabis and not other drugs.
What surprises Helga the most is how many people find it easy to procure drugs. 70% thought it was easy, of which 80% were under thirty and half over sixty.
Helgi says that this indicates that there is already a relatively open and accessible market for drugs, especially with the advent of the internet and social media.
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.
Also you can get regular news from Iceland—including the latest notifications on eruptions, as soon as they happen—by signing up to our newsletter.
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!