Norway is the kind of country that has much myth and spectacle about it. From high up on top of the world, many strange things happen. There’s a town where it is illegal to die, midnight suns and unending winter darkness, and black metal bands taking photos in their native habitats. Amongst the verdant beauty that surrounds Norwegians, and the singing heavens above when the Aurora Borealis greets the night sky, there’s a part of nature that is finding more acceptance of late. That is, of course, marijuana. While recreational weed in Norway is not legal, the country has made huge progress around decriminalization.
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Recreational Weed Laws Norway
Norway is regarded as a Scandinavian paradise with an excellent social security system, which extends into their drug laws. Their weed laws are halfway between their Scandinavian counterparts. Not as liberal as Denmark’s, but also not as strict as Sweden’s. In Norway marijuana is somewhat decriminalized; with anyone caught with up to 15 grams on their first offense usually only issued a fine. Repeat offenders face harsher penalties such as larger fines and even jail time. Recently, however, decriminalization has expanded to treat marijuana use as a healthcare matter and not one of justice.
However, there have been some less than favorable ramifications. While drug-driving laws are common, typically speaking you only lose your license if driving under the influence. In Norway, it is not uncommon to have your license revoked simply for possession. Further, healthcare professionals have a duty to report the use of marijuana to the authorities. This has the compounding effect of users losing their license without even having operated a vehicle under the influence.
Norway NORML wrote: “It appears that cannabis users relatively frequently have their right to drive revoked outside of a suspicion of having driven while intoxicated“.
Medical Marijuana In Norway
Norway is considered to have some of the best healthcare systems in the world. As such, it would stand to reason that Norwegians are able to enjoy the benefits of medicinal marijuana. Until 1965, it was possible to purchase marijuana products from pharmacies around the country. That year, marijuana prohibition was introduced and it wasn’t until 2018 that patients could access medical marijuana again.
Presently, it’s fairly straight forward to access medical marijuana in Norway. Consult with a healthcare professional who will make a determination for medical marijuana, and access marijuana at government-operated dispensaries. Currently, there is no defining set of rules around who can access their medical marijuana program though. So, because of this, it could make it easier or harder for you depending on individual circumstances.
Decriminalizing All Drug Use
By and large, Norway’s outlook on marijuana and legal reform surrounding it is favorable. Given the countries historic tendency to leniency, it’s no surprise. As of 2017, all major parties had added decriminalization and reform to their platforms. The parliament voted later that year to decriminalize all drug use, and is expected to come into law sometime in 2020 or 2021.
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With the support of all major political parties, active support and reform groups, and an ingrained history of progressive approaches to marijuana reform, ultimately there’s no other future for Norway. There still lingers stigmatization in some parts of the Norwegian law, but this will likely slowly pass with time. All one has to do is wait for legal weed in Norway to roll in. Or, fully decriminalized use at the least.
Zak Voss, the founder of The THC Times, brings over 15 years of experience in the cannabis industry, blending his engineering background with extensive legal and technical expertise. Renowned for his consultancy in cannabis legalities and indoor growing environments, Zak is a vital guide for navigating the complex cannabis landscape.