Full text: Iceland 1930

tion and sale of alcoholic liquors. The idea gained many adherents, 
and at the general election to Althingi in 1908 the government also 
arranged for a vote on the question of prohibition. Of the three-fifths 
of the electorate who voted at this election, 60 per cent. were in fa- 
vour of prohibition. In view of this Althingi found it necessary to 
deal with the question, and this resulted in the act of 1909, prohibit- 
ing the importation of any kind of liquor containing more than 2: 
volume per cent. of alcohol, with the exception of that destined for 
medical, technical, and scientific uses. The prohibition law became 
operative from the 1st of Jan. 1912, but a period of three years was al- 
lowed for dealers to sell their stocks, and on the 31st of December 
1915 all bar and retail licences expired. 
At the time of, and during the next following years after, the intro- 
duction of prohibition in Iceland, no difficulties were raised by the 
wine-producing countries; but when Norway and Finland also intro- 
duced prohibition, dissatisfaction was rife, and in 1921 Spain denounced 
her commercial treaty with Denmark-Iceland, refusing to renew it un- 
less Iceland allowed the importation of Spainish wines containing up 
to 21 volume per cent. of alcohol. As Spain buys by far the greatest 
part of Iceland's staple export commodity, the fish, a non-rénewal of 
the treaty would have entailed very serious consequences, for the 
duty on Icelandic fish exported to Spain would have been greatly 
raised. The Icelandic government and Althingi found it therefore ad- 
visable to yield to the demands of Spain, and in 1922 a law was 
passed allowing the importation of wines of not more than 21 volume 
per cent. of alcohol. With regard fo ardent spirits and beer with 21/4 
per cent. alcohol or more, the prohibition law is still in force. By an 
act of 1921 the importation and sale of liquors was placed under the 
Afengisverzlun rikisins (see p. 79). A wine shop has been set up in 
every town, where light wines (with less than 21 volume per cent. al- 
cohol) are retailed, while stronger wines and spirits are obtainable at 
chemist’s shops, but only as medicines prescribed by physicians. 
When the prohibition law had been passed in 1909, temperance agi- 
tation greatly abated. The 1.0.G.T. had gained its aim and caused Bac- 
chus to be permanently banished from the country. There now seemed 
nothing more for the society to do, and the membership decreased so 
rapidly that in 1918 it had come down to 2600. But before long it 
became apparent that in spite of plebiscite and prohibition, the , Drain- 
age“ of the couniry was anything but complete. The quantities of li- 
quor imported for medicinal purposes proved larger than had been

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