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Danish MP’s pro-legalisation cannabis comments do not change party line

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Danish MP’s pro-legalisation cannabis comments do not change party line
File photo: THOMAS SAMSON/Ritzau Scanpix
10:50 CEST+02:00
The Social Democrats, the largest party in opposition in Denmark, will not change their position on legalisation of cannabis.

The party remains against legalisation, deputy leader in parliament Dan Jørgensen said on Wednesday.

That comes after Social Democrat parliamentary group chair Henrik Sass Larsen was reported to be in favour of decriminalising the substance as well as the use of class A drugs.

In a new book, Larsen called efforts to control hard and soft recreational drugs over the last 50 years a “complete fiasco”, according to newspaper Information.

“Everything we've done in the last 50 years has been in vain,” Larsen said.

Jørgensen subsequently moved to clarify the party line on the issue.

“The debate about hash and drugs is full of dilemmas. That’s why it’s refreshing to see a new and thought-provoking contribution,” he wrote in a text message to Ritzau.

“But as Henrik Sass Larsen himself says, his debate book does not change the Social Democrat position: we do not support the legalisation of hash or other drugs,” the party deputy leader continued.

Sass Larsen suggested via his book that the state take control of cannabis sales, while users of hard drugs should not be punished.

While conceding that would probably result in an increase in the number of drugs users, he said that significant police resources, currently spent pursuing sales of cannabis and users of hard drugs, would be saved.

Money saved could be used on better education and treatment, he said.

“Henrik Sass Larsen raises in his book a number of important questions. And he makes a key point: we have a serious societal problem that has not been solved. On the contrary,” Jørgensen wrote.

“We absolutely welcome this discussion, both publicly and within the party. Hash and drugs are large and important societal problems. They should be discussed,” he added.

Copenhagen city officials have in the recent past tried to legalise cannabis within the city, but were rebuffed by the then-Social Democrat government.

Left-wing parties have in the past thrown their support behind legalisation but the three largest parliamentary groups – the Liberal party, the Social Democrats and Danish People's Party – remain opposed.

The current government has, however, softened its stance on medicinal cannabis by approving a four-year trial programme that began in 2018.

READ ALSO: Decriminalise cannabis: Danish politician

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