Is prohibition worth the cost?

Last week three people were found guilty of attempting to smuggle in 200 kg of heroin.  Most of the media’s interest lay in the fact that an agent provocateur had been used, and to what extent that was legal in Denmark, which it basically isn’t. In the end, the culprits got a reduced sentence. Even though the amount of heroin was worth millions.

Freetown’s liberalised already 
Apparently the pushers in Christiania have started using drone surveillance of the area to give them an early warning should the police strike. The police raid Pusher Street regularly. The pushers are often warned off and the drugs hidden. A few arrests are made and then it is back to business as usual a few hours later.

In the US, the midterm elections once again pit the Democrats against the Republicans, but this time it is so much more than that. Colorado and Washington have already liberalised the use of cannabis, providing the growing and selling is under state control, and more states are having referendums on the subject. Uruguay as a nation has also taken that step.

Like an ostrich in the sand
But in Denmark there is little movement. We know that we are just months from the next general election, but no political party has a policy on the subject. Pernille Skipper from Enhedslisten argues that the sale of drugs should be handled by the state and not by gangs and criminals like the Hells Angels. But it is not one of her party’s policies.

Everybody else is like the ostrich hiding its head in the sand hoping that the problem will pass. But Christiania has been around for over 40 years, selling cannabis to such an extent that Pusher Street is now officially marked on the guide maps.

Police engagement a farce
Peter Skaarup from Dansk Folkeparti is urging the government to fight the use with all means – whatever that means when half the police force and half the prison system is mobilised to no avail it seems. The Conservative, Liberals, Social Democrats and the rest are in limbo. They say they’ll fight it, but remain immobile like King Canute 1,000 years ago. They will get their feet soiled if they do not face the problem and deal with it. Police engagement is a farce and they know it.

Everybody can see the problem, nobody seems to have a solution, but it is inevitable that all politicians will soon have to address a problem that will not go away by itself. The nation learned how to handle alcohol and tobacco without prohibition, and maybe that’s cheaper and more productive than wasting even more resources on increased policing.