With only four hours of daylight during the winter and an average winter temperature of 0 degrees Celsius, one might deem Iceland a prime environment for cannabis and drug consumption. However, due to the country’s rough history with alcohol and drug usage among teens, particularly in the 90’s, the country’s policies towards cannabis are quite strict.
Is cannabis legal in Iceland? A brief legal overview
In 1969, Iceland implemented its first official ban on cannabis. In 1974, with marijuana’s rising popularity amongst Iceland’s youth, that ban was then officially added to Icelandic legislation.
According to the law, residents cannot possess, grow, sell, or consume marijuana in Iceland.
Not much changed on the legalization front until 2017 when reform MP Pawel Bartozek put forth a bill to legalize the production, consumption, and sale of cannabis in Iceland for users over age 20, a quick look at WayofLeaf explains. The motion did not represent the majority of the Icelandic population’s sentiment, however, and it was never voted upon.
In 2020, the first major piece of “pro” cannabis legislation came out with the government providing Icelandic Medicines Agency (IMA) the legal rights to import industrial hemp seeds for farming. The seeds may be used to grow hemp plants with 0.2% THC or less. Iceland’s THC limitation is on par with EU regulations, however a bit lower than the .3% THC global standard.
As for legalizing marijuana in Iceland, according to StrainInsider, the country is unlikely to see cannabis legalized any time soon.
What happens if you get caught with weed in Iceland?
The government can’t search you for weed without a reason. There needs to be cause for suspicion for them to be allowed to perform a search. That being said, Icelandic law enforcement authorities do keep close tabs on drug offenders, documenting illegal activities permanently on one’s criminal record, and thus making it easier to track and charge repeat offenders.
Marijuana offenders: What to expect
First-time offenders caught with under one pound of marijuana in Iceland will face a monetary fine of 35,000 króna, or about $500 USD. Over 0.5 pounds and offenders are looking at a minimum of three months jail time. Foreigners attempting to smuggle weed in will face automatic jail time as well.
How do locals in Iceland view cannabis
Iceland was ranked 29th place in cannabis consumption internationally, as reported by Iceland Magazine. According to golookexplore, “people in Iceland love to smoke weed, and you can easily find weed dealers in the capital.” And a famous 2014 study performed by the World Drug Report reported that Icelanders smoked the most weed per capita compared to their European counterparts.
Yet further inspection of the facts shows that the study’s data was misrepresented. And contrary to its claim that 18.3% of Iceland residents smoke cannabis regularly, that actual number is 6%.
This seems to be better aligned with the findings of a 2016 Iceland weed study conducted, revealing that 76.8 percent of Icelandic participants were against the legalization of marijuana for personal use.
The study also demonstrated a major distinction in age-based attitudes toward cannabis. While young Icelanders would like to see cannabis legalized, the majority of older citizens do not and view it as similar to a hard drug.
Medical marijuina in Iceland
There are currently no cannabis-related medical associations in Iceland. The only cannabis medical product that has been legalized is Savitex, a commonly prescribed spray for muscular dystrophy. Savitex is strictly regulated in Iceland and can only be prescribed by a selection of licensed neurologists. As for CBD-based medical products, they can be marketed, used, and sold. But only if they are completely THC-free.