The Norwegian Storting (legislature) has approved historic legislation that will decriminalize the possession of all illegal drugs.
“The change will take some time, but that means a changed vision: those who have a substance abuse problem should be treated as ill, and not as criminals with classical sanctions such as fines and imprisonment”, said Sveinung Stensland, deputy chairman of the Storting Health Committee, following the vote.
Nicolas Wilkinson, the SV party’s health spokesman, told VG that parliament’s goal was to “stop punishing people who struggle, but instead give them help and treatment”. He says aim is to transfer responsibility for drug policy from the justice system to the health system.
The move follows a 2006 scheme drug that was intended to replace custodial sentences with treatment programs for drug addicts in the cities of Bergen and Oslo. Last year the scheme was rolled out to all Norwegian courts.