Marijuana in Iceland

Is It Legal?

Marijuana plant
••• Marijuana plant. Getty Images

The possession, cultivation, sale, and consumption of marijuana are all illegal in Iceland. In particular, the possession, cultivation, and sale of this drug are heavily penalized. Anyone caught doing these things in Iceland faces the possibility of a jail sentence.

When it comes to consuming marijuana, however, the Icelandic authorities tend to impose heavy monetary fines rather than jail time to first-time offenders at the moment.

Either way, it's not accepted.

The penalties for possession of marijuana vary here, depending on the amount of the drug that the guilty party is caught with. For a first offense, a person caught possessing up to one gram of marijuana in Iceland can expect to pay 35000 kroner (the equivalent of around $550). However, amounts of over 0.5 kg will result in at least 3 months of jail time.

Bringing Weed to Iceland

Transporting marijuana into Iceland is also illegal. Travelers caught bringing the drug into the country can be given months of jail time, or even years if they are smuggling a large amount of the drug.

Customs officials in Iceland are vigilant about looking for marijuana in the suitcases of travelers entering the country. Any marijuana found on an individual when they pass through customs will be confiscated by the Icelandic customs officials, and the police will be called.

Medical Marijuana

One tightly-controlled exception to Iceland's marijuana laws is the use of a particular kind of medicinal marijuana.

Though the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is forbidden in Iceland, a few types of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals are allowed in the country.

This includes the spray Sativex, for instance, which can be prescribed to patients with muscular dystrophy. These pharmaceuticals can only be obtained on prescription from approved neurosurgeons, however.

Thus, it is highly recommended that travelers who wish to bring any form of marijuana-based medicine into the country should check with the customs officials or the Icelandic customs authority whether they can be permitted to bring their medicine into the country.

When it comes to enforcing marijuana laws, such as in local clubs in Reykjavik, the Icelandic police are themselves subject to constraints. Icelandic police officers do not have a general power to stop and search anyone that they like. The police in this country can only search people whom they reasonably deem to be suspicious.

Marijuana laws in Iceland are relatively strict, then.

It is a striking fact that aside from murder, the only offenses that will remain on an Icelandic citizen's criminal record are drug related offenses. However, the fact that individuals continue to be arrested for marijuana offenses indicates that there is a culture of producing and consuming this drug within Iceland.

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