Copenhagen to Initiate Trial Run of Legal Marijuana
Marijuana reforms have been creeping their way around Europe in recent months, with the most notable example being Luxembourg. Although the nation flatly stated it would be the first European country to legalize recreational marijuana, Denmark is toying with the idea as well.
The interesting thing is how Denmark plans to approach this. In a way, it is comparable to the way individual U.S. states legalized the drug. Denmark’s approach, however, is on a much smaller scale.
According to Grizzle, Denmark will initiate a “trial scheme” of legalized cannabis in its capital city of Copenhagen. A positive outcome could be a compelling argument, but this does not mean legalization will not face obstacles on a macro scale.
To outsiders, such a test run may seem rather sudden. But the reality is that marijuana in Copenhagen has gone relatively unchecked by authorities and the public.
“Marijuana is illegal for recreational use in the Scandinavian nation, although it has been unofficially tolerated in the Copenhagen neighbourhood of Freetown Christiania for many years. The city council wants to see it legalized in order to tackle the thriving criminal market and make it safer for youngsters.”
While ignoring cannabis in an entire neighbourhood allows the black market to operate with impunity, it might actually prove beneficial for this pilot project. If the public is already indifferent, legalizing cannabis in Copenhagen will not be very jarring.
The measure has overwhelming political support, with 44 of the city’s 55 counsellors voting in favour of the measure.
Council member Gyda Heding’s views reflect those of many cannabis advocates. She says:
“Now we have had 50 years of prohibition, and it has not helped anything, so I think that the time must be for us to do something new.”
Although the election of a new left-wing government is a huge bonus for advancing cannabis reform, it does not mean they are fully on board. This puts Copenhagen at odds with its federal counterparts:
“…the Danish government reiterated that is opposes recreational cannabis legalization. Minister for Health Magnus Heunicke said it has various detrimental side effects and it does not endorse the proposed scheme, but the City Council still plans to put it to the central government and argue its case.”
At this point, the success of Copenhagen’s experiment is critical for marijuana advocates. If it fails to meet its stated goals of protecting youth and curbing the black market, legalization will be a tough sell on the federal level.
Denmark is not completely hostile to cannabis, though. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2018 and major Canadian licenced producers Aurora and Aphria have operations there.
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