The Finnish Parliament will have to weigh up the possibility of de-criminalising cannabis use following an outpouring of support for a citizens’ initiative calling for the de-criminalisation. (Markku Ulander – Lehtikuva)


MEMBERS of the Finnish Parliament have begun to shed light on their thoughts about the idea of de-criminalising cannabis use after a citizens’ initiative calling for the de-criminalisation received the 50,000 statements of support needed to present it to the Parliament.

Veronika Honkasalo (Left Alliance) has expressed her tentative support for the initiative, arguing for example that the medicinal use of cannabis is too difficult in Finland.

“The initiative isn’t about legalising the sales of cannabis, for example, but about the fact that punishing users makes no sense and benefits no one,” she wrote on Facebook on Monday.

“I view that drug policy is a question of human rights. Globally, the so-called war on drugs has not only failed to solve the drug problem, but also led to human suffering and massive social, health and environmental problems around the world.”

Both the Finnish Parliament and public, she estimated, now have an invaluable opportunity to engage in a debate about the future of drug policy and voice their views on the issue.

Another lawmaker to express her support for the initiative was Iiris Suomela (Greens). She estimated that penalties for cannabis use are ill-advised because they have been shown to worsen health problems and criminal activity.

“The punitiveness leads to secrecy, which exacerbates the situation further. The message must be clear: narcotics shouldn’t be used, but, if you end up in trouble, help is available,” she outlined on Twitter.

Mikko Kärnä (Centre), by contrast, declared that he is not prepared to even discuss the de-criminalisation until snus has been introduced to the shelves of shops in Finland. Pia Viitanen (SDP) told YLE she opposes the initiative because it would send a message that encourages people to use cannabis.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi