|Copenhagen’s Christiania section is famed for its “Pusher Street,” where the sale of cannabis and hashish is unofficially tolerated. Now the city is thinking of making it official.|
Denmark is looking at borrowing a page from the Netherlands’ approach to cannabis, as the Copenhagen City Council examines a plan to set up state-licensed marijuana stores to remove the trade from the control of gangs.
But the plan, supported by a majority of the city council, may not have enough support in the Danish Parliament, reports The Copenhagen Post.
The proposal is to run a three-year trial in which stores staffed by healthcare professionals would sell cannabis in small quantities for about 50 kroner per gram, close to the current street price in Denmark’s capitol city.
Only residents of Copenhagen would be allowed to buy the marijuana, thus preventing Amsterdam-style “cannabis tourism,” according to supporters.
But some MPs are already declaring the plan dead on arrival.
“The whole thing’s a waste of time, because a city council doesn’t have any influence on drug laws in Denmark,” said Rasmus Jarlov, a Conservative member of both the city council and Parliament.
“The issue will be decided in Parliament, where there’s a broad majority against it,” Jarlov said. “So I don’t think we ought to be using our time on issues where we have no say.”
Copenhagen’s mayor, however, argued the pilot run is necessary to learn if the plan would actually take the cannabis business away from gangs, which control the trade, estimated to be worth more than a billion kroner. (An American dollar is worth about five kroner.)
“We have to accept that the present strategy isn’t working,” Mayor Frank Jensen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
“It’s time to think about alternative models,” the mayor said. “And when the goal is to decriminalize the hash market, it’s worth trying our idea.”
The bohemian Christiania section of Copenhagen has, since the 1970s, unofficially tolerated open-air cannabis merchants. The new pilot plan would make that tolerance official, removing the last vestiges of the black market from marijuana transactions.
A spokesman for the Social Democrats at city council said the three-year trial proposal would now be presented to Justice Minister Brian Mikkelsen for consideration.