Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jan 2002
Source: Aftenposten (Norway Web)
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A government-appointed commission will soon set off some political
dynamite, reports newspaper Aftenposten. The commission recommends
decriminalizing narcotics use and possession, liberalizing pornography
rules and raising the blood-alcohol limit allowed for driving a car.

The proposals are sure to spur heated debate among politicians who
appointed the commission back in 1994 to "modernize" Norwegian laws.
The commission's conclusions are due to be turned over to Justice
Minister Odd Einar Dorum in March. The commission, according to
Aftenposten, believes only the sale of narcotics should be penalized.
Both usage and possession would be allowed under the commission's proposal.

The commission's reasons for decriminalizing drug use and possession
remain unknown, but it's likely they follow the reasoning of law
professor Johs Andenes, who has pointed out inconsistencies in current
laws. Public authorities, for example, hand out free hypodermic
needles to drug addicts, even though drug use is illegal.

Other commission recommendations also are bound to set off fireworks,
including one that would remove censoring of porno films. The
commission also wants to make it harder to convict motorists of
vehicular manslaughter, while it also wants to return Norway's
allowable blood-alcohol level for motorists to 0.5, from today's 0.2.

The commission has been working on revision of Norwegian laws for more
than seven years. Commission members include the head of Norway's
white-collar crime unit, a Supreme Court justice, a state attorney, a
professor at the University of Oslo and a well-known defense attorney.