Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Is Weed Legal In Finland?

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Finland is often ranked as the happiest country in the world. It’s a country full of lakes, wildlife, and more lakes. It’s also a country that’s making some decent progress around cannabis reform. While weed is not legal in Finland, there has been a recent push for decriminalization. And this push has, surprisingly, come from both politicians and citizens. Let’s explore where the effort is at.

is weed legal in Finland

Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.

Decriminalizing Weed In Finland

An initiative started in May 2019 that aimed to decriminalize small amounts of weed, for cultivation and possession. It managed to receive the 50,000 signatures to see the initiative before the Finnish MP’s. Of course, this doesn’t mean that any of it will be enacted, but at least it will make the conversation happen.

Now my Finnish language skills are rusty/non-existent, but from a translated document the main points of the initiative appear to be:

  • having up to four cannabis plants would no longer be a criminal offense
  • possessing up to 25 grams of dried cannabis would also no longer be a criminal offense
  • smoking cannabis in public, or anywhere where children are present would carry a fine
  • distributing cannabis could still carry potential jail time

The main driving points behind these proposed changes is to defer police resources to more serious crimes, and to not hinder a citizens potential to look for jobs.

Medical Marijuana In Finland

So Finland does have a legal medical weed program, however it is still reasonably limited. The cannabis-based medicine of Sativex, the CBD spray, is the most prevalent. Medical marijuana in the plant form can be obtained, however, there are some fairly strict guidelines to qualify.

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First off, patients would typically need to have one of the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Spinal cord injury

This list is not definitive, however. Physicians can prescribe medical marijuana for any conditions that they think could benefit from it. Which brings us to the second limitation. Only physicians can prescribe medical marijuana. General practitioners do not have that authority in Finland. Growing your own is also strictly prohibited, as is carrying or possessing more than 15 grams at one time.

Marijuana Use In Finland

So despite Finland not having a full medical marijuana program, cannabis use amongst young people is still reasonably prevalent. Within 2019, 13.5% of Finns aged 15 – 34 had used cannabis. This is a similar percentage to the same age group in neighboring countries:

Will Weed Be Legal In Finland Soon?

So take this last paragraph with a grain of salt, but legalization in Finland may not be too far away. While only 42% of Finns surveyed believe cannabis use should not be penalized, this number has been rising over the years.

Then there’s also the fact that Sweden has the youngest Prime Minister in the world. Sanna Marin took office at the ripe old age of 34. Of course, this doesn’t mean anything necessarily, but cannabis support is almost always higher amongst younger generations.

Related:
Iceland’s Cannabis Laws – Explained

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And then lastly, there’s Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, Finland’s Minister for Social Affairs and Health, who recently voiced her support.
I support decriminalizing cannabis use. If such use didn’t lead to convictions, it would help people in seeking treatment“.

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