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Copenhagen proposes five year pilot of recreational cannabis

Home » Copenhagen proposes five year pilot of recreational cannabis

The City of Copenhagen has put forward a motion to trial the legalisation of recreational cannabis for five years.

The proposal suggests trialing the legal cannabis sales from state-controlled outlets where citizens can buy, store, grow and consume cannabis for personal use.

Denmark launched a medical cannabis pilot programme in 2018 which was recently agreed by the Danish parliament to to be extended beyond expiration in 2021. Under the programme, cannabis cultivation was allowed – a law that was then made permanent in 2021, giving legal rights for companies looking to cultivate inside the country. 

This has set Denmark on track to be one of Europe’s largest producers of cannabis with more than 200,000 square meters of cultivation space being built out according to Invest in Denmark of Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read more: Denmark latest European country to back the medical cannabis industry

The motion has been put forward on the basis that the current, 40-year prohibition of cannabis in the country has not limited the consumption or sale of the plant. Citing figures from the country’s National Board of Health that demonstrate up to 41 per cent of all people under the age of 25 have smoked the plant and a growing trend in consumption among 16 to 44-year-old, the motion highlights that existing legislation criminalises more and more citizens.

The model proposed in the report aims to establish public outlets wishing to join the scheme. It suggests that under the trial, any production must take place in Denmark, controlled outlets to be manned with knowledgable staff, the price must correspond to the illicit market and with proceeds from sales going towards the prevention and treatment of drug abuse. 

Additionally, any consumers would have to be 18 and over, and “evaluation must ensure close ongoing follow-up with the possibility of adjustment along the way”. 

Referring to the illegal “billion-dollar” hash trade in Denmark’s infamous Freetown Christiana, the report highlights that the fight for the illegal market has resulted in years of gang warfare that has involved innocent victims and large consumption of resources by the police.

It states: “Although legalisation still offers the potential for a parallel black market, it removes a large part of the revenue base and thus also the risk appetite associated with drug crime, which is why it is expected to have a major impact on gang problems. 

“It is a precondition for undermining organised crime that the production and wholesale links in the supply chain are legalised, as the Dutch model, where the purchase and sale of cannabis in small quantities has been decriminalised and where production has not been legalised, shows that remains a major illegal financial gain to be made for criminal groups that supply the products to consumers.”

Referring to the rest of Europe which is making gradual progression towards legalisation of recreational cannabis, the report highlights the benefits of policy changes in countries such as Portugal, which implemented decriminalisation of drugs in 2001. The country has since seen a decline in consumption since this introduction compared to Denmark, which has seen an increase in drug consumption in the same period. 

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