Legal Status of Marijuana in Finland
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Imagine watching the Northern Lights in Finland with a nice bowl of Northern Light. Sounds great? I might be a wonderful idea, but Finland might not be waiting for you to visit with this picture in mind, as the country is still moving very slow when it comes to cannabis reform.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN FINLAND
Medical marijuana was made legal here in 2008 on a case-by-case basis, which is an important technicality.
However for patients it has not made a huge impact as the approval process for getting the drug medically is very strict and there are not a lot of patients that have been granted access.
Another obstructing that plays a role is that mainstream doctors still look down on the drug, so it is hard for patients to find a prescribing physician.
Bedrocan distributes flower in the country. Sativex is also available, but it appears to be given to only a small handful of people.
Making matters worse, home grow is still a criminal offence unless specifically given permission to do so. There are about 12 patients who have this right in the entire country.
RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN FINLAND
Possession of cannabis for recreational purposes is officially illegal in Finland. But law enforcement is kind of lenient on the matter and as long as the amount is seen as small and for personal use only, the penalty is usually just a fine.
According to the criminal code, even possession or consumption is punishable. If caught smoking a joint in public, in other words, you face two outcomes. One is a warning or a slap on the wrist. The other is a fine. Penalties get steeper the more you are caught with. And of course, for repeated offences.
However it does not stop here. Being fined for public consumption gives the police a reason for repeated searches of your house. Fines, including for possession of paraphernalia, add up. Penalties can include jail time. Remember that cannabis is treated just like other illicit hard drugs here like heroin.
Growing, possessing or worse, selling large quantities of the drug will get jail time. Basic punishment for a drug offence starts at fines and stretches to 2 years prison time. Aggravated offences can land you in prison for a decade.
The good news? While there is no legal distinction between cannabis and other hard drugs, it is widely considered to be less dangerous. Punishments tend to take this into consideration too.
Patient advocates and progressive doctors are trying, but right now, this issue is just not a front burner for the country. Look for change here to come as more and more countries legalize the drug.