Police in Copenhagen have cannabis users in their crosshairs as they struggle to close the illegal drug trade in Copenhagen commune Christiania.
Task Force Pusher Street, the police’s Christiania unit, has been active since September 2012 and claims to have cut the cannabis trade there by 30 percent.
A police spokesperson has now announced that they intend to step up efforts against cannabis users who buy their product in Christiania.
Police targeting users
“As long as there are people who buy cannabis there will also be a market for sellers,” Steffen Thaaning Steffensen, the deputy head of Task Force Pusher Street, told Berlingske newspaper. “So before we can limit the illegal cannabis trade, there needs to be fewer buyers.”
Task Force Pusher Street has already been targeting users in the area in a bid to stop drug dealing, and they have particularly been focusing on drivers in the area.
Using a drug breathalyser that can detect seven different types of drugs in saliva, since the start of the year they have caught around 1,900 drivers with traces of drugs in their blood stream.
This is a significant increase from 2008, when the same violation was recorded just 246 times.
The penalty for driving under the influence of drugs is a three year driving licence suspension. Anyone caught in possession of under ten grams of cannabis faces a 2,000 kroner fine for a first first offence, a 3,000 kroner fine for a second offence and 4,000 kroner fine each time thereafter.
Mayor wants legal trade
Copenhagen mayor Frank Jensen said that instead of the current strategy he would rather see the sale of cannabis legalised.
“I think that a controlled legalisation of cannabis by councils would give us a real opportunity to challenge the gang’s business and make it more difficult to recruit sellers,” Jensen told Berlingske.
Despite several applications to the government, his request for a trial legal cannabis market has been rejected.