High time for change: counter-discourse and grassroot mobilization in Swedish Facebook groups for drug decriminalization
Future drug policy can benefit from understanding why the dominant Swedish discourse of drug prohibition as morally superior is being challenged by an online counterpublic, making use of Facebook groups to form counter-discourse and mobilize in favour of Swedish drug decriminalization. This netnography employs theory of framing and discursive opportunity structures (DOS) and find Swedish activists using frames of (1) Harm reduction - decriminalize all drugs to shift from a moral punitive to an evidence based public-health approach to save the lives of problematic drug users, (2) Medical cannabis - decriminalize cannabis to introduce an effective natural medicine and stop the harassment of medical cannabis users, (3) Legalize cannabis - to provide a less harmful alternative to alcohol, stop the harassment of recreational cannabis users and promote economic growth, (4) Legalize all drugs - to make better use of drugs that are currently banned, stop the harassment of all drug users and contribute to economic growth. Mobilization for the frames is affected by perceptions of DOS, which stems from interpretations of both international and domestic media drug discourse. International media is found to help Swedish activists perceive opportunities for mobilization in spite of the restrictive national context, suggesting that information and communication technology (ICT) can be used to transcend DOS in the national context. More research is needed to understand how social media affects mobilization, as well as to nuance the Swedish drug debate and make use of experiences communicated by the counterpublic.