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

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Seven hospitalized after eating hash cakes from Denmark’s Christiania

Seven people, including a Dane and a number of tourists, have received hospital treatment after consuming baked products containing cannabis.

Seven hospitalized after eating hash cakes from Denmark’s Christiania
A file photo of Christiania. Photo: Sofie Mathiassen/Ritzau Scanpix

The ‘hash brownies’ responsible for the hospitalizations were bought from Christiania, an alternative enclave within Copenhagen which has an illicit hash trade and is subject to frequent police clampdowns.

Copenhagen’s Rigshospital has treated seven people within the last four weeks with symptoms including low heart rates, unconsciousness and psychosis-like states, broadcaster DR reports.

All seven had eaten a hash brownie – a cake in which cannabis is an ingredient – purchased for 50 kroner in Christiania, the broadcaster writes.

Additional people may have been affected, but the emergency ward at Rigshospital only recently made the connection between symptoms and source, according to the report.

The seven patients were seriously – possible life-threateningly – ill after eating the cakes, which affected their heart rates and circulation, according to Rigshospital.

A Danish citizen along with tourists from Ireland, Germany, the United States, Finland, Spain and Japan were affected, the hospital confirmed to DR. All patients were discharged after two days.

Copenhagen Police said it had confiscated 4,000 hash cakes in 2019. The general figure does not solely refer to items confiscated in Christiania.

Simon Hansen, an inspector with the police special operations unit in the city, reiterated that it is illegal to buy hash products at Christiania and added that police would begin warning about potential acute health hazards.

“Based on what we have recently been told by Rigshospital, we will be advising people that the hash cakes currently may be very dangerous,” Hansen told DR.

“But whether there’s anything unusual in these cakes, we can’t say at this time,” he added.

A police action on Wednesday resulted in 58 people being apprehended for being in possession of cannabis. Recently-confiscated hash cakes are to undergo testing for drugs other than cannabis, DR reports.