By Nordic Welfare Centre

How is cannabis use controlled in the legal systems in the Nordic countries? How do the Nordic legal systems see cannabis as a drug, and how does this affect the cannabis user? The Nordic Welfare Centre´s new report Cannabis policy and legislation in the Nordic countries looks at the similarities and differences in legislation and the ways in which the law is enacted in legal practice, police work, and other arenas.

After alcohol, cannabis is the second most common intoxicant in the Nordics and cannabis use is increasing among young adults in most Nordic countries. It is therefore not insignificant how society views cannabis use: is it a social problem, a health problem, or a problem of law and order? The answer matters a great deal to the user. Increasing use will put pressure on the societal responses although the majority of cannabis users are not problem users in need of treatment.

The Nordic countries rely on a restrictive approach in their cannabis control. All countries, except for Denmark, are influenced by the vision of the drug-free society where the justice system is seen as the main actor in solving the drug problem. The majority of all cannabis crimes in the Nordic countries have to do with use and/or possession for personal use. The proportion has varied over the decades depending on enforcement priorities.