Source: Helsingin Sanomat
19 May 2009
Nearly one in six respondents to a questionnaire put to Finnish candidates in the upcoming elections for the European Parliament say that they could imagine a controlled legalisation of cannabis in the European Union.
The questions were put to candidates in the candidate selection engine of the Irc-galleria online community. The candidates were asked to respond to the following proposition “If legislation on intoxicants in the EU were uniform, cannabis should be legalised in a controlled manner, as is the case with alcohol.”
The respondents could answer “agree”, “disagree”, and “no significance for me”.
Of the 241 candidates running for the European Parliament in Finland, 164, or 68 per cent responded to the questionnaire. Of those who responded, 26 – just under one in six – felt that cannabis should be legalised in the scenario that was outlined.
Candidates giving a positive answer to the cannabis question included Arja Alho (SDP), Jukka Relander (Green), Umayya Abu-Hanna (Green), Atik Ismail (Left Alliance), and Ukko Metsola (Nat. Coalition Party).
Jukka Relander gave his reasons for his positive answer: “It would be important to really get out the message that there is a great difference between soft and hard drugs. This could be one way.”
Umayya Abu-Hanna wrote: “…it has been proven that cannabis is not as harmful as tobacco. Alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis could be bundled in the same legislation on intoxicants”.
Atik Ismail is interested in the medical applications of cannabis as a pain medicine. Alho and Metsola did not add any comments to their responses.
Of all of the parties, the candidates of the Finnish Communist Party were the most positive toward cannabis, with seven out of 15 candidates supporting legalisation under the circumstances that were outlined.
Among candidates of the Left Alliance responding to the questionnaire, four out of 15 – over one in four – answered yes.
Support for legalisation among respondents from the True Finns and the Swedish People’s Party was in the range of 20 per cent, and in the Social Democrats and the Greens, the proportion is slightly over 10 per cent. However, the number of candidates is so small that the percentage amounts to two or three supporters of legalisation per party.
The Centre Party, the National Coalition Party, and the Independence Party each had one supporter of legalisation.
The Christian Democrats were the only party with representation in the Finnish national Parliament with no candidates supporting the proposition. The Seniors’ Party, and the For the Poor Party also had no supporters of legalisation of cannabis among their respondents.
The question was preceded by the following background information: “In Spain, the Czech Republic, and Germany, for instance, there is no punishment for the private use of cannabis. In The Netherlands cannabis is legal, and the state controls its sale*. In Finland, the use, possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis is illegal.”
A significant proportion of the candidates of all parties responded to the questionnaire. The ages of the respondents varied between people in their 20s to those in their 70s.
*In fact, legislation in The Netherlands is more nuanced than the background information to the survey suggests.Republish