Mayors reject legal cannabis proposal

Ahead of conference on the subject, neighbouring councils express their disapproval of City Council’s idea to legalise cannabis for a trial period

In Copenhagen, a majority of City Council dreams of legally selling cannabis from pharmacies throughout the city to residents who are over 18 and have a home address within the council's borders. 


The plan would, according to Mayor Frank Jensen and his Socialdemokraterne (S) colleagues, be a blow to the gangs who finance a large part of their illegal activities with money earned through the illegal cannabis trade. The council also wants to have closer contact to young cannabis abusers, who today are left to interact with criminals. 


Like flies to honey


The justice minister, Morten Bødskov (S), has already rejected City Council's proposal to legalise hash for a trial period, but in two weeks City Council will once again set focus on the subject when it hosts a conference on the legalisation of cannabis. Councillors also plan to release a more detailed proposal for the three-year trial. 


But in advance of the conference, several mayors from Copenhagen's neighbouring councils are speaking out against the capital city's wish for a council-run hash market. 


"I don't think it is a good idea," Herlev's mayor, Thomas Gyldal Petersen (S), said. 


Neither does Helle Adelborg (S), the mayor of Hvidore. 


"If you legalise hash, you send the wrong signal to the youth," Adelborg said. "I fear that children will interpret it as acceptable behaviour."


She also didn't think the idea of selling only to Copenhagen residents would work in practice.


"Running water doesn't understand council borders, and this proposal wouldn't either. I have a hard time believing that the cannabis would remain in Copenhagen."


There is also scepticism in Frederiksberg. 


"Legal cannabis in Copenhagen would be like flies to honey for some of the most vulnerable youth throughout Greater Copenhagen," Frederiksberg's mayor, Jørgen Glenthøj (Konservative) said. 


Swedes are "hysterical"


In November, 19 mayors of councils in southern Sweden wrote to Jensen to warn against the legalisation of cannabis in Copenhagen. In his response to the Swedes, Jensen wrote that with legalisation he hoped to take money away from the criminal element. 


"In no way is the objective of legalisation to get more to smoke cannabis," Jensen wrote. "Therefore, it would continue to be forbidden for those under 18. And as long as there are restrictions, there is a risk of a black market. That is a basic fact."


City Council member Lars Aslan Rasmussen (S) dismissed the Swedish mayors' concerns.


"The Swedes have a hysterical approach to drugs and alcohol, and they have a huge illegal market," he said. "Just because the Swedes don't have control over their own misuse policies, that shouldn't mean that we are kept from trying a new approach."

  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.