Back in October, an initiative was launched in Finland which seeks to legalize cannabis for adult use in the European country. Recently, the initiative crossed the 50,000 signatures mark and will now be considered by lawmakers. Below is an excerpt from the initiative’s text:
We propose to start drafting a law to reverse the illegality of cannabis and replace it with the following:
– The use, possession, subsistence farming, manufacture and sale of cannabis are allowed with age limits.
– Creating a regulatory system for the manufacture and sale of cannabis comparable to other substances, learning from the experience of states and states that have already legalized cannabis. The aim of the regulation is to minimise harm to individuals and society, in the same way as alcohol and tobacco legislation.
– Imposing a tax on cannabis to compensate for the harm it causes to society.
– Clearly define the distinction between intoxicating cannabis and non-intoxicating cannabis, i.e. hemp, so that hemp-growing farmers can operate in their field.
– the removal of entries on cannabis use, as well as criminal records and other similar entries resulting from minor cultivation and sales.
In line with legalization strategies ramping up in Germany and other European nations, the initiative in Finland relies on the logical argument that prohibition is more harmful to public health outcomes than regulation.
“This initiative provides a comprehensive justification for why Finland, too, should replace the Cannabis Prohibition Act with regulation. The regulation of intoxicants must be based on researched information. The Prohibition Act did not bring us a cannabis-free world. Regulation does not bring us a harm-free world of cannabis either, but it can minimise the harm and compensate for the costs.” the initiative states.
Currently, only Finland’s Green Party has publicly expressed support for cannabis legalization, with Green Party member Coel Thomas helping craft the legalization initiative that recently crossed the required signature threshold. Thomas appears to be tempering expectations regarding the initiative’s adoption in the near future while remaining hopeful for the longer term.
“It seems likely that we will have a right-wing conservative government coming in, but even under a centre-right or centre-left government, it’s not likely that we could advance legalisation. I don’t see how it could get a majority of votes,” Thomas explained according to Cannabis Health News. “However, we are starting a conversation in Finland right now, that in my opinion, will most likely lead to the legalisation and regulation of cannabis this decade.”
Recently, for the first time in Finland’s history, a majority of survey respondents (57%) indicated that they felt regular cannabis use was less harmful than binge drinking, as well as a majority of respondents (53%) indicated that they feel that personal cannabis activity should not be a crime.