Danish Lawmakers Reject Marijuana Legalization
There will be no hash bars or cannabis cafes in Copenhagen at any time in the near future. Over the weekend, the Danish government rejected Copenhagen’s request to experiment with legalizing cannabis sales in the city.
In a letter to the Copenhagen city council, Social Democratic Justice Minister Morten Bodskov wrote that the government was rejecting the request because it feared it would lead to increased availability and use of the herb and because it had been linked to a variety of side effects.
“Because of this the government will not permit the experiment,” BÃ¸dskov wrote.
City council members, who had overwhelmingly supported the request, said they were disappointed in the decision
The rejection was met with disappointment from members of the city council, including the deputy mayor for social affairs, Mikkel Warming (Enhedslisten), who argued that legalisation was the only solution to the crime created as a result of the illicit drug trade.
“It’s very disappointing,” councilman and deputy mayor for social affairs Mikkel Warming told public broadcaster DR. “The prohibitive policies we have operated under in Denmark for so many years have not worked. You can still buy hash on street corners across the city which also means the hash is mixed up with other harder drugs. Criminals also pocket about two billion kroner a year from the trade.”
Warming said he would continue to work for marijuana legalization and counseled patience, noting that it took a decade for parliament to approve a supervised injection room for hard drug users.
“Legalization would limit the gang conflict and it would also give us access to the group of users who have been left to the criminal environment,” councilman Lars Aslan Rasmussen told Ritzau. “We had hoped that they would take our proposal seriously, as we have the support of 80% of the city council. Copenhagen has a serious problem because the gang conflict is a result of the trade in marijuana. The gangs turn over more money than 7-Eleven.”With the action by the Danish government, the black market profits of Denmark’s hash slingers and pot dealers will remain safe for now.