The central framework for drug legislation in Finland is based on the Narcotics Act. The provisions for drug offences are laid down in Chapter 50 of the Penal Code. The use of drugs and the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use constitute drug use offences that are punishable by a fine or a maximum of six months’ imprisonment. Prosecution and punishment can be waived if the offence is considered insignificant, or if the offender has sought treatment specified by the Decree of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
Drug offences include possession (whether for personal use or supply), manufacturing, growing, smuggling, selling and dealing. There is no specific offence of dealing or trafficking. The penalties for a drug offence range from a fine to a maximum of two years’ imprisonment, while an aggravated drug offence is punishable by 1-10 years’ imprisonment. Aggravating circumstances for a drug offence include the involvement of substances considered as ‘very dangerous’; large quantities of drugs; considerable financial profit; or if the offender acts as a member of a group that has been organised for the express purpose of committing such an offence.
In 2014, the Narcotics Act was amended to address both narcotics and ‘psychoactive substances banned from the consumer market’, known as new psychoactive substances (NPS). These substances are listed in a government decree following a defined procedure of evaluation, and unauthorised supply is classed as an offence endangering health and safety, punishable by up to one year in prison according to Chapter 44 of the Penal Code.
Legal penalties: the possibility of incarceration for possession of drugs for personal use (minor offence)
NBYear of data 2015.
Reported drug law offences and offenders in Finland
NBYear of data 2015.
Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug/related crime, and they are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug markets dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.
In 2015, Finland reported an increase in the total number of DLOs, which continued a rising trend observed over the previous decade. Approximately 9 out of 10 DLOs were drug use related and the data indicate a continuous increase in the proportion of these offences. This is attributed to enhanced efficiency of control mechanisms, the growing popularity of home-grown cannabis and the increase in its use, and to the smuggling of medicines.