From Iceland — Health Minister Ices Own Bill On Decriminalising Personal Drug Consumption

Health Minister Ices Own Bill On Decriminalising Personal Drug Consumption

Published March 21, 2022

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Anna Andersen

Despite having a broad base of popular support, including an endorsement from the director of prisons, Minister of Heath Willum Þór Þorsson has opted to kill his own bill on drug decriminalisation.

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The bill, if passed, would have decriminalised quantities of drugs deemed small enough for personal consumption but not large enough to constitute intent to sell or distribute. However, Vísir reports that despite promises of intent to submit the bill during this parliamentary session, the health minister has opted instead to put it on ice.

Pirate Party MP Halldóra Mogensen expressed deep disappointment with the decision, telling reporters, “I am always optimistic and wanted to believe that [former Minister of Health] Svandís [Svavarsdóttir] actually wanted to drum up support for the matter and complete it. Then I placed my hopes on Willum Þór to take the matter into his own hands and complete it for real.”

The bill has had a contentious history and has been controversial even within the parties in the ruling coalition, but also in society at large.

A poll from last year showed that the majority of Icelanders supported the bill, as did the director of prisons, but was opposed by the National Commissioner of the Police and the Icelandic Medical Association.

When or if the bill will be introduced again remains to be seen.

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