According to Icelandic laws, residents cannot possess, grow, sell, or consume marijuana. Cannabis was officially banned in 1974 The amendment to the regulations is a temporary measure as permanent rules are being worked out in response to growing interest in cultivating industrial hemp in Iceland. The Icelandic band Sigur Rós has announced that they're producing their own brand of CBD tintures in collaboration with the company Vona.
Is weed legal in Iceland?
With only four hours of daylight during the winter and an average winter temperature of 0 degrees Celsius, one might deem Iceland a prime environment for cannabis and drug consumption. However, due to the country’s rough history with alcohol and drug usage among teens, particularly in the 90’s, the country’s policies towards cannabis are quite strict.
Is cannabis legal in Iceland? A brief legal overview
In 1969, Iceland implemented its first official ban on cannabis. In 1974, with marijuana’s rising popularity amongst Iceland’s youth, that ban was then officially added to Icelandic legislation.
According to the law, residents cannot possess, grow, sell, or consume marijuana in Iceland.
Not much changed on the legalization front until 2017 when reform MP Pawel Bartozek put forth a bill to legalize the production, consumption, and sale of cannabis in Iceland for users over age 20, a quick look at WayofLeaf explains. The motion did not represent the majority of the Icelandic population’s sentiment, however, and it was never voted upon.
In 2020, the first major piece of “pro” cannabis legislation came out with the government providing Icelandic Medicines Agency (IMA) the legal rights to import industrial hemp seeds for farming. The seeds may be used to grow hemp plants with 0.2% THC or less. Iceland’s THC limitation is on par with EU regulations, however a bit lower than the .3% THC global standard.
As for legalizing marijuana in Iceland, according to StrainInsider, the country is unlikely to see cannabis legalized any time soon.
What happens if you get caught with weed in Iceland?
The government can’t search you for weed without a reason. There needs to be cause for suspicion for them to be allowed to perform a search. That being said, Icelandic law enforcement authorities do keep close tabs on drug offenders, documenting illegal activities permanently on one’s criminal record, and thus making it easier to track and charge repeat offenders.
Marijuana offenders: What to expect
First-time offenders caught with under one pound of marijuana in Iceland will face a monetary fine of 35,000 króna, or about $500 USD. Over 0.5 pounds and offenders are looking at a minimum of three months jail time. Foreigners attempting to smuggle weed in will face automatic jail time as well.
How do locals in Iceland view cannabis
Iceland was ranked 29th place in cannabis consumption internationally, as reported by Iceland Magazine. According to golookexplore, “people in Iceland love to smoke weed, and you can easily find weed dealers in the capital.” And a famous 2014 study performed by the World Drug Report reported that Icelanders smoked the most weed per capita compared to their European counterparts.
Yet further inspection of the facts shows that the study’s data was misrepresented. And contrary to its claim that 18.3% of Iceland residents smoke cannabis regularly, that actual number is 6%.
This seems to be better aligned with the findings of a 2016 Iceland weed study conducted, revealing that 76.8 percent of Icelandic participants were against the legalization of marijuana for personal use.
The study also demonstrated a major distinction in age-based attitudes toward cannabis. While young Icelanders would like to see cannabis legalized, the majority of older citizens do not and view it as similar to a hard drug.
Medical marijuina in Iceland
There are currently no cannabis-related medical associations in Iceland. The only cannabis medical product that has been legalized is Savitex, a commonly prescribed spray for muscular dystrophy. Savitex is strictly regulated in Iceland and can only be prescribed by a selection of licensed neurologists. As for CBD-based medical products, they can be marketed, used, and sold. But only if they are completely THC-free.
Updated rules in Iceland put industrial hemp under drug authority
Iceland’s Ministry of Health announced changes in the country’s narcotics laws that gives the government’s Icelandic Medicines Agency (IMA) rights to import industrial hemp seeds for farming. Under the rules recently announced by Health Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir, imported seeds may not produce hemp plants with more than 0.2% THC.
Svavarsdóttir said the amendment to the regulations is a temporary measure as permanent rules are being worked out in response to growing interest in cultivating industrial hemp in Iceland.
The temporary changes will hopefully clear up jurisdictional and legal questions that have troubled some Icelandic farmers. A small hemp farm in East Iceland was questioned by drug authorities late last year despite being in compliance with its farming operation. Owners Pálmi Einarsson and Oddný Anna Björnsdóttir imported and planted hemp seeds at their farm in Gautavík last spring after receiving a go-ahead from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority.
Low THC standard
Nonetheless, IMA sent the police to the couple’s farm, where they seized plants later analyzed and found to have only trace amounts of THC – under the government’s stated limit of 0.2%. No case was brought against the couple.
The 0.2% THC barrier, a limit that predominates in Europe as per EU guidelines, is low by global standards. Most countries around the world operate on a 0.3% THC limit, while some nations have pushed their standard to a full 1.0% THC allowable.
Like HempToday? How you can support us
Your donations help us to keep HempToday open for all readers, regardless of what they can afford to pay. Through this “information equality” we’re able to support hemp entrepreneurs and stakeholders all over the world by keeping a spotlight on hemp and all the promise it offers for economic development and healing our planet.
Sigur Rós Announces Their New Brand Of CBD Tintures
The Icelandic band Sigur Rós has announced on their website that they’re producing their own brand of CBD tinctures, which are based on the hemp plant (cannabis sativa).
The two tinctures types are entitled SLEEP and WAKE. The first is meant for relaxation, the latter for improved concentration. They are the product of a collaboration with the Icelandic CBD company Vona, which is based in Massachusetts (USA) and described as “a group of people united in their passion to explore the relationship between body and plant in order to provide unique artisanal products”.
According to the statement on the website: “Vona is a new collective of artists, researchers, farmers, formulators and experts in the field of CBD and novel cannabidiol, the chemical compound of the hemp plant (cannabis sativa) that won’t get you high but has been proven to have healing properties.”
The 1000mg-strength tinctures are said to be “made from craft organic hemp and grown from hand-picked seed” from which the oil is extracted and distilled to create the new formulas Sigur Rós has created in collaboration with Vona.
The legality of CBD has been a source for much discussion in Iceland in the past, as cannabis itself is illegal but there is no explicit ban CBD. Last year the bottled water company Icelandic Glacial was reported to have the intention to produce a CBD drink, although such a product has not entered the market so far.
This is also not the first CBD venture for Sigur Rós. In 2017 they already collaborated with the CBD brand Lord Jones to promote the Sigurberry CBD gumdrops. According to Fréttablaðið the gumdrops are made from CBD and THC however and therefore not legal in Iceland.
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door.