Possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use is being considered for decriminalization by Finland’s government after marijuana advocates collected the 50,000-plus petition signatures required to prompt the parliament to review the measure.
The proposal stipulates that people found in possession of 25 grams of marijuana or farming a maximum of four plants would not face criminal charges.
The yields of a single marijuana plant are equivalent to the 25 grams permitted under the proposal; therefore, people are urged to dry one plant at a time.
According to Yle, the collection of signatures was started last month by a group called Kasvua Kannabiksesta. Most of the signatures were gathered last month by the Kasvua Kannabikseat group. And, they credited their success to their social media campaigns.
The activist Janne Karvinen said that it is natural for people to do things at the last minute. Recently the group has been promoting the measure through social media. She believes that there are more than 50,000 people in Finland supporting their proposal.
According to the measure, people who consume marijuana in a public space would be charged under new penalties.
A translated explanation of the petition states that the current policy goal is harm reduction, but it has not succeeded. The anti-drug policy is the motive behind the prohibition of marijuana possession and consumption. The ban only targets the minority, and it is harmful to people, and a big waste of law enforcement resources.
The advocates said that imposing criminal charges on marijuana consumers is harmful because no matter how minor the charges are, the misdemeanor offense stays on the person’s records. The advocates also cited the decriminalization model in Portugal, which helped in reducing the number of drug overdoses and people infected with HIV.
The group said that instead of legalizing marijuana, Finland’s government should decriminalize it, as this ensures that it is still adhering to the United Nations rules that stipulate that member countries should not allow marijuana to be legally regulated and sold. However, this has not hindered member countries such as Canada and Uruguay from legalizing cannabis.
According to the proposal, decriminalization is the process of abolishing the criminal aspects of an act that is illegal and punishable by law. The abolished criminal sections may be transformed into a minor offense punishable by a fine.
The Finnish lawmakers will formally debate and consider the decriminalization proposal, but it is still too early to predict whether they will approve or reject the petition.
Analysts think that industry players like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQB: PLPRF) and VPR Brands LP (OTCQB: VPRB) may be watching the proceedings in Finland closely in order to see whether that part of the continent will eventually allow its citizens to benefit from the jobs, tax revenues and other benefits brought by a regulated marijuana market.
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