Norway plans to become the first Scandinavian country to completely decriminalise drugs, meaning that any user of cocaine, heroin or marijuana would no longer be seen as a criminal, but rather as a victim.
The northern country has very few problems with substance abuse, but they do exist, just as there are in all westernized countries. Norwegians are usually very sportive and healthy, and on trend with the latest technology. People drink smoothies daily, go to the gym, and runners are a very usual sight everywhere.
However, its northern position on the globe also means that some people suffer from depression due to the lack of sunlight and the constant cold temperatures. Moreover, the 2017 Country Drug Report shows 266 Norwegians died from drug-related deaths.
Back in the 1960s and 1970s the Scandinavian countries had to tackle a similar problem, that of alcohol. They did this by slapping heavy taxes on them.
Now, having to handle the problem of drug abuse, Norwegian politicians want to make a few details clear, and so Mr Sveinung Stensland of the Storting Health Committee, detailed: “It is important to emphasize that we do not legalize cannabis and other drugs, but we decriminalize.”
"The change will take some time, but that means a changed vision: Those who have a substance abuse problem should be treated as ill, and not as criminals with classical sanctions such as fines and imprisonment.”
Norwegian Justice department officials will soon travel to Portugal, which was faced with a similar problem at the turn of the century and issued liberal drug laws at that point. As a result, drug crime in Portugal went markedly down.
Norwegian Justice Minister, Mr Anders Anundsen said: “The goal is that more addicts will rid themselves of their drug dependency and fewer will return to crime.
“But if the terms of the programme are violated, the convicts must serve an ordinary prison term.”