Liberal Iceland? 76% Against Cannabis Legalisation
A recent poll conducted by MMR Market and Media Research discovered that over 3/4 of Iceland’s population are against the legalisation of cannabis for personal use in any form.
987 people responded to the poll and 76% of these respondents answered “against”, with 57% stating they were “very against” a move for legalisation.
Iceland do not have any laws which allow the use, cultivation, sale or transport of cannabis. In fact, the country’s law on narcotic drugs suggests that even small amounts of cannabis found on a person/s can result in arrests and fines.
Despite its supposed representation as a liberal haven, it seems that Iceland has some rather conservative stances on certain social topics. In 2014, reports surfaced in mainland Europe suggesting that Iceland smokes the most cannabis per capita and that the police tend to turn a blind eye to recreational use. However, follow up reports from inside the country debunked this theory.
Iceland Magazine stated in a 2015 article, “The claim that the authorities turn a blind eye to cannabis smoking or possession of small amounts of the drug is also wrong. While people don’t face time in prison for possession of small amounts for personal use, the Police will arrest anyone carrying or consuming cannabis.”
In fact, VICE Magazine published an article following these erroneous reports titled, ‘Why Iceland Doesn’t Deserve its Liberal Reputation’.
While these reports are all anecdotal, there still seems to be a complexing division in Iceland’s representation from within the country compared to coverage outside its borders.
Despite the comprehensive results of the MMR poll, there seems to be a slow rise in citizens ready to accept legalisation. A 2011 poll asking the same question had an incredible 87% of respondents stating that they were against cannabis legalisation in Iceland, a ten percent increase compared to the latest poll. It also appears that, like many other countries, the younger generation is far more accepting of the use of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes.
41.3% of those who belonged to the youngest age group (18-29 years) said they were in favour of the introduction of the consumption of cannabis, compared with 25.9% of those who belonged to the age group 30-49 years, 10.2% of them belonging to the age group 50-67 years and 4.8% of those who belonged to the oldest age group (68 years and older).
Though the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is strictly prohibited in Iceland, a handful of cannabis-based pharmaceutical drugs are allowed into the country.
This includes Sativex, which can be prescribed to patients with muscular dystrophy. These pharmaceuticals can only be obtained on prescription from approved neurosurgeons.
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