From Iceland — Health Minister Says He Will Submit Drug Decriminalisation Bill This Autumn

Health Minister Says He Will Submit Drug Decriminalisation Bill This Autumn

Published March 22, 2022

Photo by
Silje Bergum Kinsten/norden.org

Following yesterday’s report that Minister of Health Willum Þór Þorsson had decided to not submit his ministry’s bill on decriminalising personal use quantities of drugs, he has now told RÚV that he fully intends to submit the bill this autumn, albeit with some changes.

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As reported, 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. His decision to put the bill on ice was met with concerted criticism, from amongst others Pirate Party MP Halldóra Mogensen, who expressed deep disappointment with the decision.

Willum now says the bill has been referred to a ministerial work group, as the bill in its current form lacks a broader base of parliamentary support. He also said that what constitutes a quantity for personal consumption–as opposed to a quantity intended for sale–needs to be better defined.

He emphasised that he has every intent to submit the bill this autumn, and expects that it will receive a large base of support in Parliament at that time.

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.

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