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Five Danish political parties support legalisation of cannabis

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Five Danish political parties support legalisation of cannabis
A 2012 file photo of Christiania. Photo: Christian Als/Ritzau Scanpix
10:48 CEST+02:00
A string of parties on both sides of the political aisle have declared their support for decriminalising the sale of cannabis.

Police are wasting their resources on a never-ending battle to clamp down on the sale of recreational marijuana, which is illegal in Denmark, the parties say.

Recent weeks have seen extensive police crackdowns in the Pusher Street market in Copenhagen’s alternative enclave Christiania, from where traders sell marijuana and related products.

But the law against selling recreational cannabis enables organised crime networks to profit hugely from illegal trade, say the five parties – Alternative, the Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), the Socialist People’s Party, the Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party and Liberal Alliance.

The libertarian Liberal Alliance is a coalition partner in Denmark’s conservative government, while the other four parties are all in opposition.

The five parties are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss a pathway to legalising the plant in Denmark.

Torsten Gejl, spokesperson with Alternative on the issue, said that state control of marijuana sale would be beneficial for both users of cannabis and society as a whole.

“The problem with the current ban is that there’s no age limit for buying cannabis. Nobody knows what’s in the cannabis that criminal groups are selling, and biker gangs and other gangs are making billions from it,” Gejl said.

“The current ban means that use and sale of cannabis is completely out of control in Denmark,” he added.

In a joint statement published by newspaper Politiken on Sunday, the five parties outlined their rationale for supporting legalisation.

Although recreational cannabis has been illegal in Denmark since 1955, with rules tightened on five occasions, there has not been a decrease in consumption, the parties wrote in the Politiken article.

Marlene Borst Hansen of the Social Liberals said her party proposed a three-year trial period in which cannabis can be purchased legally, for example at pharmacies, while Alternative also said pharmacies were a potential point of sale.

“The approaches we have tried over the last few years have not worked. So we have to attempt something new,” Hansen said.

Legalisation will not eradicate illegal sale, but will greatly decrease the demand for marijuana from illegal sellers, the parties say.

“It is incredibly important that we have prices on the legal market that compete with the illegal market. That would, I think, cause a huge put of the illegal market to disappear,” Gejl said.

“And if biker gangs continue selling to minors, we must crack down on it,” he added.

In addition to the five political parties, the Danish Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research will participate in Monday’s meeting.

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