The Danish Justice Minister is to deliberate over a proposal that would see Copenhagen’s cannabis market taken away from criminal gangs and placed in the operation of state sanctioned cannabis stores or ‘coffee shops’. However, the city council’s plans to establish the new shops are unlikely to be met with great enthusiasm amongst members of parliament, according to one Conservative Party member.
The Copenhagen Post reports that a majority of the Copenhagen City Council have already voted in favour of a trial of the new system over a period of three years. This would see official stores manned by healthcare professionals where small amounts of cannabis may be brought for around DKK 50 (USD 10). To prevent Copenhagen becoming a pot-tourism Mecca, only residents of the city would be able to purchase from the stores.
Mayor Frank Jensen has argued that a trial of the system was necessary to understand what impact it would have on gang-related drug business. “We have to accept that the present strategy isn’t working,” Jensen stated. “‘It’s time to think about alternative models. And when the goal is to decriminalise the hash market, it’s worth trying our idea,” he concluded. Jensen also favours any policy which prevents young people from coming in contact with gang environments.
However Conservative MP Rasmus Jarlov, who is also on the city council, has declared the proposition futile. “The whole thing’s a waste of time, because a city council doesn’t have any influence on drug laws in Denmark,” Jarlov claimed. “This issue will be decided in parliament, where there’s a broad majority against it. So I don’t think we ought to be using our time on issues where we have no say,” he added.
Justice Minister Brian Mikkelsen will be presented with the three-year trial proposal by the Social Democrats for his consideration.