By Phillip Smith
The Norwegian Green Party is calling for "state-controlled production and sale of cannabis," as well as the decriminalization of possession for all drugs. The call comes as the party releases its platform ahead of elections set for September.
Norway's Greens are not a major political force in the Scandinavian country. While they have won some local elections, they hold no seats in parliament and have never gathered more than 0.5% of the popular vote in parliamentary elections. They have, however, been on the upswing since elections in 2011, when the won 17 local council seats and 1.3% of the popular vote.
"Current policies are clearly not working," the party's spokesperson Hanna Marcussen, told Aftenposten newspaper. "Today marijuana is sold openly along the Aker River in Oslo without anyone managing to restrict access. It is time that someone takes on this difficult debate."
Marcussen also said the Greens do not view hard drug users as criminals and that decriminalizing drug possession would increase the public health.
"We want to decriminalize the use of heavier drugs. This is a health problem," Marcussen said. "Compared with other countries, we have particularly high number of fatal overdoses due to hard drugs."
The proposals resemble those of Copenhagen mayor Frank Jensen, who has long pushed for state-run cannabis production, and they come just a day after Uruguay's lower chamber of parliament approved a bill that would make the South American nation the first country in the world to legalize marijuana markets, also with state controls. That measure still awaits a vote in the country's upper chamber.