One Fifth Of Finns Would Decriminalise Cannabis Use

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According to a Taloustutkimus Research survey commissioned by Yle, 20 percent of Finns are ready to decriminalise marijuana use while 60 percent of respondents favour keeping cannabis use as a punishable offence.

One fifth of Finns have tried marijuana. Approximately the same number of people – 20 percent – would like cannabis use to be decriminalised in Finland, according to a new Yle survey.

Meanwhile, recent figures from the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) place the number of people who use marijuana daily in Finland at less than 10,000 individuals.

But the conversation in Finland about decriminalising cannabis is slow.

“I think at some point we will get rid of fining those caught using marijuana – after all, we don’t fine people for using alcohol and being drunk or smoking although people react much more critically to those issues than to personal experimentation with cannabis,” says Mikko Salasuo, a docent of economics and social history at the University of Helsinki.

Political fear

But part of the reason why change may take time is because drug policies are a difficult topic for Finnish politicians, who fear being labeled.

“It’s the kind of topic that makes politicians feel they have very little to gain and a very lot to lose. Being labeled, individually or as a political party, as drug-positive can easily occur. At the same time, there is not a specific group of voters who feel that this is such an important issue that it would clearly sway votes,” says Erkka Railo, a researcher at the University of Turku.

Railo does not believe that Finnish politics regarding decriminalising recreational drug use will dramatically change in the near future, even though there have been several international precedents. For example, in some US states cannabis use has been legalised, decriminalised or medicalised in recent years.

Meanwhile, the University of Helsinki’s Mikko Salasuo says he believes the issue will not become a huge topic of conversation that leads to a singular decision being made. Rather, Salasuo says change will happen gradually on the legal and governmental side.

Yle’s survey was carried out by phone with 1,400 respondents between the ages of 15-79 years old. The margin of error is about 2.5 percentage points in either direction.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: One Fifth Of Finns Would Decriminalise Cannabis Use
Author: Staff
Contact: Yle Uutiset
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Website: Yle Uutiset