Minister Favors Decriminalization of Banned Substances

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Minister Favors Decriminalization of Banned Substances

By Benedikt Jóhannesson
Alþingi, Iceland's parliament

Alþingi, Iceland's parliament. Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

Some members of Alþingi, Iceland’s Parliament, think that consumption of illegal drugs should be decriminalized. Minister of Health, Kristján Þór Júlíusson, said in a meeting last week that he believes it is necessary to reevaluate the current penalties for the use of banned substances.

His fellow Independence Party member, Brynjar Níelsson, said that opinions were divided on the issue, but that most of his colleagues agreed that such use was at least up to a point a health problem. He thinks that existing penalties do not help.

“Of course, consumption is not necessarily a problem. Then again it is a question of how liberal you are. I am personally of the opinion that people should be responsible for their own actions. And if people want to consume those substances, they are free to do so as far as I am concerned.”

He thinks now is an excellent chance to rethink the legislation on consumption of drugs. Even minor offenses end up on a person’s criminal record.

“This has been difficult for many. It a problem for both the individual and society. The punishment is not just.”

Brynjar says that even if consumption should be decriminalized drug trafficking should still be illegal.

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