|Copenhagen’s Christiania section is already friendly to marijuana, but not to hard drugs. Cannabis could be legalized in January.|
Marijuana could soon be legalized in Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, after the city council voted overwhelmingly for a plan to sell cannabis through state-run shops and cafes.
The scheme, if approved by the Danish Parliament at the beginning of 2012, could make the city the first in Europe to fully legalize, rather than just tolerate, marijuana consumption, reports Richard Orange at The Telegraph.
Pot is already openly sold on the streets of Christiania, a self-proclaimed “free town” in Copenhagen’s city center, despite the forced closure of the neighborhood’s Amsterdam-style coffee shops in 2004.
Marijuana has never been officially decriminalized, though, and those caught with even small amounts face fines of up to £450.
|International Club Copenhagen|
|Mikkel Warming, mayor in charge of social affairs, Copenhagen City Council: “We want a way to make it legal to import or grow marijuana”|
”We are thinking of perhaps 30 to 40 public sales houses, where the people aren’t interested in selling you more, they’re interested in you,” said Mikkel Warming, mayor in charge of social affairs at Copenhagen City Council. “Who is it better for youngsters to buy marijuana from? A drug pusher, who wants them to use more, who wants them to buy hard drugs, or a civil servant?”
The City Counci voted 39-9 Thursday night to empower Warming’s Social Affairs committee to draw up details of how the plan would work.
The proposal will then be sent to Danish Parliament early next year for approval.
“We want to make it a little bit more concrete what kind of decriminalization we want: Should it be a public buying system; should there be an age limit?” Warming explained.
Warming said he was opposed to establishing Amsterdam-style cannabis cafés, where open marijuana use is tolerated, but under which cultivation and importation remain illegal.
That would leave the revenues, estimated at £200 million, in the hands of the city’s notorious biker gangs, Warmer argued.
“We don’t want an Amsterdam model,” he said. “We want a way to make it legal to import or grow marijuana.”
Possession and cultivation of cannabis are still punishable by fines in the Netherlands. Its coffee shops are also technically illegal but officially “tolerated.”
The Danish Parliament voted down a previous cannabis legalization proposal submitted by Copenhagen City Council in 2008.