1978 Greenlandic alcohol referendum

A two-part referendum on alcohol was held in Greenland on 20 June 1978. Voters were asked whether they approved of the banning or rationing of alcohol. The ban on alcohol was rejected by 55% of voters,[1] whilst the rationing proposal was approved by 58% of voters.[2]


Are you for a total ban on alcoholic drinks?

Choice Votes %
For 5,620 44.90
Against 6,898 55.10
Total 12,518 100
Source: Direct Democracy

If there is not a total ban, would you consider rationing?

Choice Votes %
For 6,236 58.76
Against 4,376 41.24
Total 10,612 100
Source: Direct Democracy


Following the referendum, rationing was introduced in August 1979.[3] Adults over the age of 18 were limited to 72 "points" per month. A 33cl bottle of beer was equivalent to one point. In addition, a ban on home brewing and importing malt and hops was implemented.[3]

The points system led to points trading, with points being sold for up to 25 Danish krone whilst the price of a bottle of beer was just 5 krone. However, consumption dropped from 18.7 litres per person to 13.8 litres by 1980. Following the scrapping of the rationing system in 1982, consumption rose to 22 litres per person.[3]


  1. ^ Greenland, 20 June 1978: Alcohol ban Direct Democracy (in German)
  2. ^ Greenland, 20 June 1978: Alcohol rationing Direct Democracy (in German)
  3. ^ a b c Hans Aage (2012) Alcohol in Greenland 1951–2010: consumption, mortality, prices Int J Circumpolar Health 2012, 71: 18444