By Roland Sebestyén
The Green Party in Finland has made a “significant statement” as, in its virtual party conference, they approved an initiative to call for the legalisation of cannabis in the country.
According to Yle, the Greens’ proposal would decriminalise the use, possession, manufacture and sale of cannabis.
It was a very close call – the initiative was passed by 183-181 – but with this move, the Green Party became the very first political party in Finland to calls for legalisation.
Party secretary Veli Liikanen said: “The vote was close. It was decided by a margin of only two votes. That, of course, indicates that there are different positions on this policy within the Greens.”
The decision divided the Greens, but the move is significant – regardless of the results.
THL research professor Pekka Hakkarainen told Yle: “The Greens have focused on shifting drug policy from punishment to harm reduction.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) have urged the same for years.
“Of course, this is a significant statement when you consider that this is one of Finland’s governing parties taking such a position.
“Based on a 2018 survey, 18 per cent of Finns thought that cannabis should be legally available.
“Personally, I have considered it more important that the criminalisation of use be abandoned. This would not just apply to cannabis, but to all substances, and we could better address problem use.”
Currently, Finnish laws prohibit the production, importation, transportation, sale, possession and use of cannabis.
While a campaign was set up to push the government to decriminalise the drug in 2019, there is, so far, no update on the matter.