The Norwegian Criminal Regulation of Drugs: An Overview and Some Principled Challenges


  • Jørn Jacobsen University of Bergen.
  • Selma Taslaman University of Bergen.



This article describes and critically analyses the current state of the Norwegian criminal regulation of drugs. The first parts of the article describe the contemporary rules and Norway’s international obligations in this field of law. The following part addresses the official justification of this regulation. Here, the article scrutinises the official justification for the contemporary regulation, in particular the criminalisation of use and minor possession of drugs. The analysis applies the principle opted for by the Norwegian legislator as a guiding criminalisation principle in the preparation of the Criminal Code of 2005, i.e. the harm principle. The article does not completely reject the possibility for justifying the regulation, but concludes that the contemporary regulation at least rests on an insufficient normative basis. The final section critically discusses the high levels of punishment applied in Norway in the drug context.

Author Biographies

Jørn Jacobsen, University of Bergen.

Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Bergen.

Selma Taslaman, University of Bergen.

Research Assistant, Faculty of Law, University of Bergen.




How to Cite

Jacobsen, J., & Taslaman, S. (2018). The Norwegian Criminal Regulation of Drugs: An Overview and Some Principled Challenges. Bergen Journal of Criminal Law & Criminal Justice, 6(1), 20–52.