Finnish narcotics legislation is primarily based on international conventions: the United Nations (UN) Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs adopted in 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances adopted in 1971 and the Convention against Illicit Trafficking in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances adopted in Vienna on 20 December 1988. The entry into force of the Finnish Narcotics Act on 1 September 2008 resulted in new psychoactive substances being made subject to control in accordance with Council Decision 2005/387/JHA. The control of drug precursors is governed by Regulations of the European Parliament and the Council based on the 1988 Vienna Convention.
Background to narcotics control
International narcotics policy is based on intergovernmental agreements under which countries including Finland have made a commitment to making the substances and preparations agreed between the parties subject to narcotics control. The purpose of these conventions is to secure the correct usage of any psychoactive substances while preventing the use of substances with no medicinal use. The conventions classify substances under separate schedules depending on the relationship between their therapeutic usefulness and the risk caused by their abuse.
Under the general prohibition laid down in section 5 of the Finnish Narcotics Act (373/2008) the production, manufacture, import to the territory of Finland, export from the territory of Finland, distribution, trade, handling, possession and use of substances classified as narcotic drugs is prohibited. Violations of this prohibition are punishable under Chapter 50 of the Penal Code of Finland (39/1889). Deviations from the prohibition are, however, allowed in accordance with the conventions for medicinal, research and control purposes. Countries committed to the conventions typically have one competent authority for narcotics licence procedures.
In Finland the licensing and control authority operating in accordance with the narcotics legislation is Fimea. Fimea grants licences to import, export, produce and handle narcotic drugs for medicinal, scientific and research purposes as well as for the detection of drugs.
Background to drug precursor control
The control of drug precursors is governed by Regulations of the European Parliament and the Council regarding the handling of drug precursors. These Regulations on intra- and extra-Community trade in drug precursors and their implementing Regulation are also given effect under the Finnish Narcotics Act. The Regulations are based on the 1988 Convention against Illicit Trafficking in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances to which the EU is a party.
Drug precursors are scheduled substances referred to in the above-mentioned Regulations that are commonly used in illicit manufacture of drugs. Some of these substances also have legitimate uses as medicinal products. The control and licence procedures applied to drug precursors are not, however, targeted at medicinal products falling under the Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use.
Fimea acts as the Finnish competent authority referred to in the Regulations on intra- and extra-Community trade in drug precursors and their implementing Regulation. Fimea also grants licences to import, export and handle drug precursors and makes decisions regarding operator notifications.
Psychoactive substances banned from the consumer market
Manufacturing, import, storing and placing on the market by selling or otherwise of the psychoactive substances banned from the consumer market is banned.
However, university, scientific institution and entrepeneur may import and store these substances for justified research or industrial purposes.
In such cases, a notification detailing the research or industrial purposes and the details which are required for bookkeeping is to be given to Fimea before the actual import.
Annually, by 15th of February a compilation report of the imports, stored amounts and information about consumption in research or industrial uses must be given to Fimea.