Four of five Danes support legalising medical cannabis

More than 80 percent of Danes are in favour of legalising the medical use of cannabis, a new survey has found, increasing the chance that a pilot scheme planned for next year will lead to an end to prohibition.

Four of five Danes support legalising medical cannabis
Doctors will be able to legally prescribe cannabis under the new plan. Photo: Yuri Cortez/Scanpix
The survey by Analyse Denmark found that only five percent of people in Denmark opposed medical cannabis, with the remainder saying they did not have an opinion. 
“It shows that the population understands that certain patient groups have specific problems that cannot be treated by ordinary medicine, but where medical cannabis can help,” Lasse Skovgaard, health policy manager at Denmark’s Multiple Sclerosis Society, told the Avisen newspaper.
“I’m not surprised that there is so much support,” added Mette Bryde Lind, chair of the Danish Arthritis Society. “We see many arthritis patients with chronic pain and a poor quality of life. They have tried several treatments but medical cannabis can help.” 
Denmark plans from January 1 next year to launch a four-year trial which will allow “a defined patient group” to be treated with medical cannabis, after an agreement was reached in the Danish Parliament last November.
“The pilot project, which takes effect on January 1st, 2018, will make it possible for some of the patients who today medicate themselves to be treated legally with medicinal cannabis within the healthcare system,” a press release from the Health Ministry read. 
The Danish Medicine Authority (Lægemiddelstyrelsen) has put forward multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, spinal cord injuries and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting as eligible ailments. 
The trial was voted almost unanimously through the Danish Parliament last November, winning the support of the ruling Liberals Party, the Social Democrats, the Danish People's Party, the Liberal Alliance, The Alternative, the Social Liberals and the Socialist Left Party.  
Several political parties in Denmark support the complete legalization of cannabis but the three largest parties – Venstre, Social Democrats and Danish People's Party – remain opposed to legalizing it for recreational use. 
Only 36 procent Danes are in favour of legalising Cannabis for recreational consumption, against 45 percent who are against, the survey found. 
The agency surveyed 1,040 respondents. 


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.

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