The cannabis decriminalization petition in Finland, created by activists from Kasvua Kannabiksesta in May 2019, gained over 50,000 votes and was submitted to Parliament.
Finns want to abolish punishment for storing, growing and consuming hemp
The petitioners propose abolishing the criminal and administrative prosecution of citizens for:
- storage of marijuana weighing up to 25 grams;
- growing up to four plants;
- cannabis use;
- drying one bush.
Kasvua Kannabiksesta member Janne Karvinen spoke about the reasons that prompted him to decriminalize cannabis: “More than 50,000 or even 100,000 Finns support our petition. Current legislative measures are ineffective because they do not help reduce the harm from drugs. The ban on smoking and possession of marijuana is motivated mainly by the need to conduct anti-drug propaganda. In practice, the police punish only a small number of hemp consumers. Maintaining the ban requires large resources and is detrimental to society. ”
Supporters of cannabis believe that criminal penalties for storing and cultivating cannabis for personal use can ruin a person’s life, as a criminal record will remain in his personnel file forever and may interfere with employment. Kasvua Kannabiksesta notes that Portugal’s drug decriminalization model is an example of a fruitful anti-drug policy that has led to fewer overdoses and HIV infections. To protect minors from hemp, activists want to impose a fine for smoking marijuana in public places.
Finland opts for decriminalization instead of legalizing cannabis
The creators of the petition argue that decriminalization is more beneficial than legalization because by choosing the first option, Finland will not violate its obligations to the UN. International conventions adopted by members of the organization prohibit the legalization of hemp but do not limit decriminalization.
Decriminalization means the abolition or mitigation of punishment for a certain offense, for example, the replacement of imprisonment with a fine. In many Western countries, drug policy is undergoing transformation, since the war against illicit substances does not bring the desired results. In particular, in October of this year, three important events took place:
- Scottish deputies supported the initiative to abolish criminal penalties for drug possession;
- Mexican parliamentarians have introduced a bill to legalize cannabis;
- members of the House of Commons of Great Britain called on the government to decriminalize the possession and use of drugs.
On October 17, Canadians celebrated the first anniversary of the legalization of hemp and lifted the ban on food and cosmetics with cannabinoids as part of the Cannabis 2.0 program. Russian authorities condemned the actions of the Canadian government and said they did not support a drug-tolerant policy.