– We abolish criminal liability for the use and storage of small amounts of drugs for our own use. This means that it is forbidden, but it is no longer punishable.
This is what Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) said when he presented the government’s proposal for drug reform together with the Liberal Party leader and Minister of Education and Integration Guri Melby.
It is a clear victory for the Liberal Party in government.
– Several decades of punishment regime have taught us that punishment does not work, Melby said.
She further said that punishment can make it more difficult for those who have substance abuse problems to seek help, and it can make it more difficult for relatives to detect abuse.
– We will no longer stand and watch people being humiliated and humiliated, and called criminals, when in fact they are ill, Melby said.
She also pointed out that it is well documented in international research that criminalization of drug abuse can be a barrier for drug addicts to seek health care.
So much drugs the government will allow without penalty
If the government gets what it wants, it will be able to be in possession of:
- To gram heroin.
- To gram kokain.
- To gram amfetamin.
- 10 grams of cannabis.
- 0.5 deciliters of GHB, GBL, and 1,4-butanediol.
- I lapp / «syreblotter» LSD
- One milligram of LSD as pure active ingredient.
- 0.5 grams of MDMA.
- 20 grams of mushrooms containing psilocin / psilocybin.
- 15 intoxication doses of drugs.
- 500 gram khat
In the proposal, it should also be possible to be in possession of three types of narcotic drugs at the same time, without risking punishment, if the amount is within the limit values.
In addition, the government will introduce another level of holdings where the main rule is failure to prosecute, but where one may be required to appear for advice. These values are:
- 15 grams of cannabis
- Fem gram heroin.
- Five grams of cocaine.
- Five grams of amphetamine.
- One deciliter of GHB, GBL, and 1,4-butanediol.
- Three patches / «acid blotters» LSD
- Two milligrams of LSD as a pure active ingredient.
- One gram of MDMA.
- 50 grams of mushrooms containing psilocin / psilocybin.
- 25 intoxication doses of drugs.
- I kilo khat.
All other inclusion of drugs shall continue to be punishable, and shall be punished as at present. The police must also have access to seize drugs regardless of quantity, even when this is below the so-called threshold values.
– The police must be able to order a person who is arrested with drugs for their own use to appear at a municipal advisory unit. This unit will inform about the harmful effects, offer mapping and follow-up, and not least health care, said Høie.
If the detainee is a minor, the police must also be able to order relatives to attend such a dialogue meeting. Those who do not show up can be fined around NOK 2,400 if there is not a significant burden for the person fined.
KrF in government is against the government’s drug reform
KrF is in the government that presents the drug reform. Therefore, they will also vote in favor of the proposed reform in the Storting. Nevertheless, KrF’s four ministers, Knut Arild Hareide, Olaug Bollestad, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad and Dag Inge Ulstein, hope and pray that the rest of the Storting will reform.
They fear that the proposal they themselves have submitted to the government will make Norwegian drug policy worse than it is today because they want to decriminalize the possession and use of smaller quantities of drugs.
– We hope that the Storting also continues to work, goes into it thoroughly and thinks carefully about whether it is right to go from the Penal Code to the Health Act, says Minister for Children and Families, and KrF’s party leader, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad to VG.
– Do you hope that the Storting dilutes the reform even more?
– Yes, I hope that the Storting tightens it even more, especially this with young people and first-time users. It should have strong reactions if you do not follow up, but you should get help, you should get follow-up and you should get treatment. That’s the key to a young person not doing it again, says Ropstad to VG.
Geir Bekkevold (KrF) is the leader of the health and care committee that will solve the reform through the Storting. He will probably have to be loyal to the government’s proposal during the consideration, but he is also clear on what he and the party think:
– This is not KrF’s drug reform. I want to state that right away, Bekkevold says to NRK.
He says what worries him about the reform is that it does not take care of children and young people as he sees it.
– We are very concerned about lowering the threshold for children and young people to use drugs. Therefore, we have been very skeptical of this drug reform. We voted against when it was being considered in the Storting in the previous period. We are in favor of a health reform for drug addicts, but are worried that the threshold will be lowered, says Bekkevold.
He nevertheless says that KrF will act in an orderly manner when the matter is considered in the Storting.
Vedum: – Gift package for the gangs
The Center Party’s leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum has already said that he believes decriminalization is the wrong way to go.
– It is a gift package for the gangs, Vedum said VG when it became known that the Drug Reform Committee recommended the introduction of so-called threshold values for each individual drug.
In practice, this means that you are not punished for being taken with smaller quantities of drugs for your own use.
Vedum believes the government is pushing the heaviest drug users in front of it, and opens up for criminal gangs to more easily recruit sellers.
– The people who are ill are used as an excuse for it to be more free. Therefore, I believe that it is possible to make a wording of the law that protects those who are ill, at the same time we can be very hard on this, Vedum said to VG.
SV will help the reform through the Storting
Nicholas Wilkinson, a health policy spokesman for SV, completely disagrees.
– This is an important day in Norwegian politics. This drug reform will make the lives of drug addicts in Norway much better. I will work in the Storting to improve the proposal from the government, and to pass a reform that goes from punishment to help, Wilkinson writes in an email.
However, he believes that the proposed reform does not go far enough in following the recommendations of the drug reform committee. This applies, among other things, to drug addicts being allowed to delete drug offenses from their criminal record.
“These people need a second chance we should give them,” Wilkinson wrote.
FRP’s deputy leader Sylvi Listhaug says the following about the proposal for drug reform:
– It is very good that you want to give treatment to heavy drug addicts. It’s a tough life, and we have to do what we can to get people out of it, says Listhaug.
She says it is still important to prevent young people from entering such environments. FRP believes that the government in the proposal for drug reform does not put in place a good policy to prevent this.
– We are against decriminalization. Entering an office to have a conversation or be fined, it will not be sufficient as a tool to prevent them from entering such environments, says Listhaug.
The Labor Party’s Ingvild Kjerkol tells NRK that the party will thoroughly understand the reform proposal, but that in principle they will not decriminalize drugs.
– The Labor Party believes it is high time to decriminalize drug addicts, not drugs. It will still be punishable, and now we will go into the details of what the government proposes and see how they recommend doing so, says Kjerkhol.
She further says that the party shares some of both Frps and KrF’s concerns about young people.
– We see an increasing use of drugs among children and young people, for the Labor Party our goal is to prevent children and young people from becoming addicted to drugs and to help those who are there to get out of addiction. Then we must stop punishing those who have a substance abuse problem, but we must not lose the preventive effort.