Council may enter drug trade
A City Council majority is backing a plan to legalise the sale of cannabis, which could see two thirds of the market taken away from criminal gangs. A memorandum drawn up by council staff, is proposing that state-licensed shops sell the drug in small quantities at 50 kroner per gram – similar to the current street price.
The illegal cannabis trade in Copenhagen is estimated to be worth more than a billion kroner annually and if 40 state-run ‘coffee shops’ were set up, they could turn over about 700 million kroner a year.
The council report states the cannabis would be sourced from legal plantations and suggests a three-year trial period. It also states research shows that decriminalising the drug doesn’t lead to more drug abuse.
‘Drug use is not higher in countries that have already decriminalised hash for personal use,’ said the report.
The Social Democrats, Social Liberals, Socialist People’s Party, Red-Green Alliance plus Liberal councillor Lars Dueholm have secured a majority for the model suggested.
However, the legal pot would only be available to city residents. Thor Buch Grønlykke, spokesman for the Social Democrats, explained that this would prevent ‘hash tourism’.
Grønlykke also insisted the licensed stores would be staffed by healthcare professionals.
‘The hash must be sold from places where people are scrutinised closely so the young and vulnerable people can’t buy the drugs,’ he said.
Recent statistics show that almost 50 percent of Danes between the age of 16 and 44 have tried hash and there are around 7000 addicts nationwide.
The council plans to send its finalised proposal to the Justice Ministry before the end of the year as the plan would require a legislative change.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The Copenhagen Post (Denmark)