Interior Minister voices her support for cannabis law changes

Maria Ohisalo says her party had advocated for removing criminal sanctions against people who smoke cannabis, or have it for personal use.

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File picture of someone smoking a joint / Credit: iStock

Minister of Interior Maria Ohisalo (Green) has voiced her qualified support for changes in the laws on cannabis growth, possession and use.

Writing on Facebook, Green party leader Ohisalo notes that a citizen’s initiative earlier in October collected the required 50,000 signatures to progress to parliament.

She said her party’s policy is that use and possession of illegal substances in small amounts should not be punished.

“The problems related to drugs are vile, and often affect society more widely than the individual” says Ohisalo.

“I understand different points of view and concerns. However, drugs do not disappear and the fight against substance problems has not been successful with current methods” she adds.

The minister says that drug trafficking must continue to be punished, and bringing drug dealers to justice, and the fight against organised crime, are key ways to deal with the problem.

Ohisalo says the World Health Organisation and the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL, have recommended that cannabis users shouldn’t be treated as criminals, and that there is evidence that taking away criminal sanctions for cannabis use reduces drug-related problems.

“Of course the removal of punishments alone does not solve the problems” says Ohisalo.

“We need stronger cooperation between the authorities and, for example, high quality social and youth work, which prevents young people from getting involved with substances in the first place” she adds.

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