To a large extent, Norway falls under the category of countries that have outlawed the possession and use of cannabis. Under 2018 marijuana laws in Norway, it is illegal to possess, sell, transport and cultivate marijuana, but in December 2017, the Norwegian Parliament decriminalized personal drug use, including cannabis.
As a result, even in cases where an individual in Norway demonstrates no intention to use or sell cannabis, they are still liable to punishment by law, and any acts relating to marijuana possession, transportation, and cultivation are considered to be in contravention of the established marijuana laws in Norway.
Breaking the drug laws could attract heavy punishment for international visitors, and in Norway, any quantity of cannabis found in an offender’s possession will make them liable. However, the quantity itself will determine the different kinds of punishment, which can range from a small fine to several years in jail or deportation from the country (for international visitors).
Punishments for Marijuana
Although marijuana has been decriminalized, that doesn't mean that the government of Norway can't press charges against egregious offenders.
Punishment for marijuana starts with monetary fines for smaller quantities of less than 15 grams, as they are generally taken to be for personal use, and transgressions over the 15-gram limit are considered dealing in cannabis, which could yield much heavier penalties.
First-time offenders for personal use will pay fines of between 1,500 and 15,000 Norwegian kroner ($251 to $2510) for illegal possession, and travelers could be banned from the country for violating domestic policy—though this is highly unlikely since decriminalization rules took effect.
Repeat offenders for personal use will likely be offered or required to attend rehabilitation programs or medical services for treatment of addiction, though they will no longer be sentenced to jail time, which used to range from six months to two years in local prisons.
Dealers, on the other hand, can still serve jail terms if convicted for selling or possessing large quantities, serving sentences of up to 15 years for major drug trafficking and distribution cases involving marijuana—even though it's decriminalized.
Traveling With Marijuana in Norway
Travelers are not allowed to bring marijuana into Norway, and travelers who try to bring marijuana into the country that are caught are detained and later arraigned in court for prosecution in the country. There's even a case of a celebrity, Snoop Dogg, who was banned from Norway for two years after attempting to enter the country in possession of this substance in 2012.
Despite the laid down marijuana laws in Norway and the punitive measures that come with breaking them, there are still a number of people who use the drug for recreational purposes in the country. Nightclubs remain major distribution points for the drug, especially in the Norwegian capital Oslo, where police have issued public statements about how they will no longer process weed charges or arrest Norwegian citizens for possession.
However, in order to stay out of trouble with Norwegian authorities as a tourist, it is advisable to act within the provisions of current laws in Norway, especially since you are a guest of this country.
Medical Marijuana in Norway
It is only under special circumstances that a window in the law allows for travel with and use of marijuana in Norway: medical necessity.
For a traveler to be allowed to bring cannabis into Norway, they must get a doctor’s prescription for marijuana, which will serve as proof of the medical condition that warrants their use of the drug. Please note that the prescription must be on official hospital stationary like any other medical prescription—no hand-written notes!
Norway allows this type of medical marijuana use because there are currently no stores in the country that sell the drug for medical purposes and its international policy prevents it from interfering with the medical laws of other countries or the health of other countries' citizens.
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