Hash bars and marijuana dispensaries will not be popping up any time in the near future in Copenhagen after the Danish government rejected the city’s request to experiment with the legalizing of cannabis sales in the city.
Social Democratic Justice Minister Morten Bodskov wrote in a letter to the Copenhagen city council that the government was rejecting the city’s request because it feared it would lead to an increase in the availability and use of cannabis due to being linked to a variety of side effects. Due to the extensive list of side effects that have been associated with cannabis, city officials believed that it would be an unwise decision. Bodskov said, “Because of this, the government will not permit the experiment.”
The rejection of this request was met with great disappointment from members of Copenhagen’s city council, which included the deputy mayor for social affairs, Mikkel Warming (Enhedslisten). Warming argued that this legislation was the only solution to the crime that is created as a direct result from the illicit drug trades. The councilman and deputy mayor said, “It’s very disappointing. 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.” Two billion Danish kroner would be the equivalent of about $340,800,000 United States dollars.
However, Mikkel Warming said he would still continue to work for marijuana legalization and counseled patience, making note that it took a decade for Danish parliament to approve a supervised injection room for hard drug users. Councilman Las Aslan Rasmussen, a pro-legalization legislator, said, “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.” Rasmussen hoped that the council would take the city’s proposal seriously due to the fact that they have support from nearly 80% of the city council. He said, “Copenhagen has a serious problem because the gang conflict is a result of the trade in marijuana. The gangs turn over more money than 7-11.”
With the rejection of this proposal and actions taken by the Danish government, black market profits of Denmark hash slingers and marijuana dealers will remain safe and untouched for the time being.