Denmark takes small step towards medicinal cannabis

The Region of Southern Denmark on Tuesday agreed to move forward on a plan that could see the region become the first in the nation to prescribe cannabis for medicinal use.

Denmark takes small step towards medicinal cannabis
A cannabis plant. Photo: Coleen Whitfield/Flickr
The region’s board of health gave the go-head to seek funding for a medicinal cannabis trial programme. 
“There are so many people who suffer from serious illnesses like cancer and sclerosis who say that [cannabis] has an alleviating effect,’ the board’s chairman, Poul-Erik Svendsen told broadcaster DR. 
He said that the region hopes to launch a trial programme within a year that will investigate the effectiveness and possible side effects of prescription cannabis. 
Despite ongoing debates about legalizing cannabis use – and Danes’ overwhelming support of legalizing it for medicinal use – Denmark has historically taken an official hard-line stance on cannabis for both recreational and medicinal use.
However, the former centre-left government and current ruling party Venstre agreed in 2014 to earmark funding for “research projects on pain relief, including the use of medicinal cannabis”.
According to DR, parliament is currently considering loosening the national laws on medicinal cannabis. 

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Copenhagen city council supports cannabis legalization trial

A majority in Copenhagen Municipality’s city council (Borgerrepræsentation) wants to legalize cannabis, but the government remains opposed.

Copenhagen city council supports cannabis legalization trial
Christiania in Copenhagen. Photo: Anne Bæk/Ritzau Scanpix

City politicians are in support of trialling a legalization of the sale of cannabis and will approach the government over the issue.

“There’s a new government, so it makes sense for us in Copenhagen to again make clear our view that it is important for us that something is done about the hash market in Copenhagen,” Socialist People’s Party councillor Klaus Mygind, who sits on the municipality’s children and youth committee, told TV2 Lorry.

City councillors say a trial would undermine criminal hash dealers and also make it easier to reach young people who are struggling with addiction.

The idea is based on the establishment of five or six points of sale in the city, which would be staffed by specially trained advisors.

44 of the 55 representatives on the city council support the proposal.

In a written comment provided to Ritzau, Minister for Health Magnus Heunicke said that the government’s position remains opposed to the legalization of cannabis.

“Hash is associated with a long list of detrimental effects which can have serious consequences, particularly for those with mental health risk factors and for children and young people with social problems,” the minister wrote.

“Our responsibility is to help them with their education. We won’t do that by legalizing hash, which worsens the capacity to learn,” Heunicke added.

READ ALSO: Seven hospitalized after eating hash cakes from Denmark's Christiania