Norway opposition torpedoes plan to decriminalise drug use

Norway’s main opposition Labour Party on Friday rejected a government plan to decriminalise the personal use of drugs in small quantities, saying the measure could incite young people to experiment with narcotics, writes The Local.

Both the possession and use of small amounts of narcotics, such as heroin, cocaine, and cannabis, would no longer be illegal under the criminal code under the legislation submitted by the centre-right coalition government in February, but users would still have to seek treatment.

The reform does not have a majority without the support of either the Labour Party, the Center Party or the Progress Party. Both the Center Party and the Progress Party say no, so at the moment the whole reform has stalled. While the Labour Party is in favor of eliminating penalties for heavy drug users, it opposes decriminalizing drug use for the general public.

“I don’t know if it will be possible to work out a compromise. The Conservatives (H) and the Liberal Party (V) don’t seem to be willing to compromise on the most controversial issues (i.e. to distinguish between people with substance use disorder and others). Furthermore, the Progress Party has rejected the Labour Party’s proposal for a compromise and say they don’t want to decriminalize at all. The Christian Democrats (KrF) are really against the reform but have been forced to accept it since they are part of the Government. And the Conservative party is probably also somewhat divided on the issue,” explained Stig Erik Sørheim, Head of the International Department at Actis – Norwegian Policy Network on Alcohol and Drugs.