The good thing about having a tiny readership is that I can say whatever I want without having to worry about possible consequences. So, let me explain the ridiculousness of Norwegian narcotics/drug laws and express my opinions on how to improve the situation.
Note that I am not in any way advocating the use of narcotics or other illegal substances, I am simply arguing a point that I fully understand is unusual, so please hear me out.
Norway has some of the strictest narcotics-laws around. Depending on who you are, getting caught with a few grams of weed might very well land you in jail, particularly if you’re a repeat offender. Norway has outlawed khat, (a rather mild stimulant) altogether, despite it being legal in (for instance) the UK. The Norwegian drug law criminalizes innocent (and frequently very unfortunate) individuals; it costs the tax-payers tons of money, and it is completely ineffective. We have one of the highest rates of heroin-deaths in all of Europe so it appears that criminalization has not accomplished much. Additionally, the largest percentage (30%) of our prison-population are in for drug-related crimes.
If we look at illegal drugs, the damage-range is from fairly innocuous to seriously harmful.
Let’s for instance look at cannabis/THC in its various forms. Not a huge problem in any respect. People mellow out (and sometimes turn really dumb) and the drug is not very harmful compared to many others (the Norwegian media really has blown the effects of THC out of proportion). Also; our brain has cannabinoid-receptors (i.e. part of our normal experience mimic that of a THC-high: these cannabinoids that we produce naturally are called endocannabinoids) The harm from cannabis is considerably lower than that of for instance alcohol, an intoxicant that is consumed in massive quantities here in Norway. Alcohol is taxed heavily but the consumption remains high. I would suggest that the government would be smart to legalize cannabis and tax it heavily to gain revenue.
In fact; I believe governments would be smart to decriminalize or outright legalize all drugs. Portugal has decriminalized all drugs and has consequently seen a massive decrease in drug-use. In fact, Portugal’s drug-usage is among the lowest in the Euro-zone. Drug related diseases (think STD’s like Hiv/AIDS) have also decreased drastically. Most of those who use drugs don’t care much that they are illegal, and people such as myself would never ever consider doing drugs simply because I could legally. The same drugs are also frequently available by prescription, so the difference between a criminal and a non-criminal is often just a piece of paper.
A great number of other social problems could also be avoided by decriminalizing or legalizing drugs. Several terrorist organizations are funded by the illegal drug-trade. If governments took matters into their own hands, that is, by cultivating/purchasing and again, heavily taxing the same drugs, much (if not all) of the funding would disappear. I am not suggesting that it would end terrorism, but it would certainly make it much more difficult. What do you think would happen to the Mexican drug cartels? They would have to find a different trade. Maybe they could stop killing innocents and journalists in the process? Finally, the decriminalization/legalization could potentially generate massive revenue, both in the countries where the drugs are produced (think Afghanistan, Columbia, Mexico etc.) and in recipient-countries. Many of these countries are in an awful place financially and could really need the extra cash. In recipient countries, the revenue generated could be used to to treat those suffering (healthy people do not generally feel the need to constantly get high). An additional consequence would be a 30% reduction in the Norwegian prison-population. Each prisoner costs the Norwegian Government (and thus the tax-payers) 1500 kr. pr. day (about USD 250). So the savings would be enormous in scope.
-There are probably lots of counter-arguments out there, but this is how I see it. I also do feel the need to point out that DRUGS ARE HORRIBLY BAD FOR YOU! Don’t ever do drugs, illegal or otherwise.
Thanks for reading.