In Norway, there are no separate laws that relate only to illicit drugs. The use and possession of minor quantities of drugs falls under the provision of the Act on Medicinal Products. Penalties comprise fines or imprisonment for up to six months.
The manufacture, acquisition, import, export, storage and trafficking of narcotic drugs are prohibited by Penal Code § 231, and are punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment for up to two years. An offence may also be deemed by a special evaluation to be aggravated by taking into consideration the type of substance involved, its quantity and purity, and the nature of the offence. Pursuant to Penal Code § 232, aggravated drug felonies are punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment. If a ‘considerable quantity’ is involved, the term of imprisonment may be 3-15 years, and ‘very aggravating’ circumstances may result in a term of up to 21 years’ imprisonment. Nevertheless, in Norway, the Act on Sentence Execution § 12 allows for voluntary treatment as an alternative to a prison sentence. This decision is made by the governor of the Prison Service Institutions, while the overriding responsibility lies with the Correctional Services of the Ministry of Justice. A drug treatment programme under court control started in 2006 as a trial, and in 2016 the government accepted it as a permanent and nationwide programme.
In 2013, a new regulation relating to narcotics came into force, which allows scheduling of substances by groups of similar substances (generic scheduling) and/or as individual substances. Some substances are included on the list both as individual substances and as one of a group of substances.
Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug-related crime and are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug market dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.
The number of reported DLOs increased in Norway up to 2014, when a total of 48 152 DLOs were reported. In 2015 and 2016 the number of reported DLO has reduced. The available data indicate that use- and possession-related offences constitute the largest group.