History of CBD and Cannabis In: Norway
The change of public opinion which has swept across the world is genuinely a remarkable one. Fifteen years ago, CBD and cannabis were illegal almost everywhere in the world, and for almost every reason. Today, that has changed, as dozens of countries and American states have liberalized their laws when it comes to cannabis.
That is not to say that broad legalization has occurred across the world; only a very select few countries have gone that far. Instead, many countries have expanded access to medical marijuana, cannabis-based medication or they have moved to decriminalize. This has been the case in many countries, even those which are known for their more legal stances towards most social issues.
Indeed, such is the current status in Norway, which has been regarded as having some of the stricter cannabis laws in Europe. However, recent changes to the country’s drug laws appear set to change its overall drug culture.
History of Cannabis in Norway
One of the more interesting tidbits about Norway’s relatively strict marijuana laws is that they exist largely in opposition to Norway’s history: Archeological records show that hemp and cannabis were cultivated by Vikings in the country, with the history of such going back as far as 650 AD.
Norway’s drug laws became very strict in the 1980s (around the same time that so-called “tough on crime” laws were very much politically popular). In 1984, Norway’s government was led by conservatives, and they enhanced sentences for drug possession that actually were roughly equal with the sentence for murder in the country.
Current Legal Status of Cannabis in Norway
Reform efforts date back a few years, with major groups like NORML Norway being founded in 2013.
In 2017, Norway became the first country in Scandinavia to decriminalize drugs altogether, when a vote on such legislation was backed by a broad coalition of political parties. The full change is expected to take effect around 2020 or 2021. These legal changes will not legalize drugs, but instead will result in the country concentrating its resources towards treatment. Many larger cities in Norway, such as Oslo and Bergen, were already sentencing individuals to treatment, rather than jail. The decriminalization move came after a 2014 report showed that 266 people died of drug use that year.
Medical Marijuana in Norway
Norway does not have a formal medical marijuana program like other countries. However, individuals can obtain medical marijuana by getting it from a certified physician. Unfortunately, such a prescription is, by all accounts, very difficult to obtain.
Before decriminalization takes place, individuals caught with a small amount of marijuana were given a fine, with escalating punishments occurring for repeat offenses. Young offenders can be sentenced to drug monitoring. Like most places, possession of higher amounts of marijuana can result in an individual being charged with intent to sell or traffic; the maximum sentence for such a violation is 21 years in jail (for the most serious of crimes).