Politician grilled over 'hasjtag' drugs protest
A Conservative politician in Norway who last week took a brave stand for marijuana smokers by admitting to smoking the drug, has made a humiliating climb-down after being hauled in by the police for questioning.
Leif Auke, a councillor for Drammen near Oslo, on Thursday volunteered his own confession on Twitter in solidarity with Norwegian MP Erik Skutle, who was last week forced to resign all his political positions after admitting to smoking marijuana.
"Have smoked it around 20 times over the course of my career," Auke tweeted, using the hashtag '#hasjtag' in a joke reference to the Norwegian for marijuana, "but won't ever be Prime Minister either".
Har røyka sånn ca 20 ganger I løpet av karrieren. (Men blir aldri statsminister heller) #hasjtag— Leif Auke (@leifauke) February 28, 2014
Norway's police didn't take Auke's hasjtag protest lightly, however, and on Monday, they announced they were calling him in for questioning.
"When the police become aware of offences, it is our duty to investigate," Øyvind Aas, station commander at Drammen police, explained to NRK. Auke was questioned on Tuesday.
Skutle, who was representing the Bergen constituency of Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg while she is in office, was grilled by police on Thursday in connection with a drugs raid on seven schools in Bergen.
After he admitted to having smoked the drug on one occasion, he resigned all of his political positions and issued a formal apology to the party. Solberg, meanwhile, reiterated her "zero tolerance" position on drugs.
The previous day Skutle had called for a liberalization of drugs policy in Norway in a newspaper opinion piece.
After his tweet last week, Auke was also briefly defiant in an interview with his local Drammen Tidende newspaper.
"Much of what I am admitting to lies far back in time," he said. "But it has happened, and during the last five years. If I want to smoke weed, it's my business. If I put myself under the kitchen fan with a joint, it's a private thing."
After the police's announcement on Monday, however, he folded dramatically.
"As a people's representative, I am a public person," he said in a statement. "To everyone and especially to the youth, it is important that those representing the Conservative Party show respect for Norwegian law and the Conservative Party's zero tolerance policy on drugs. I apologize for the situation I have put the Conservative Party, myself and my family through as a result of my earlier statement."
Ad sak. Jeg har beklaget overfor Høyre i Drammen saken og de har akseptert beklagelsen. Det har også Høyre (org) sentralt gjort.— Leif Auke (@leifauke) March 3, 2014