A majority of Danes believe that sales of cannabis should be controlled by the state, according to a Gallup poll for metroXpress.
According to the poll, 53 per cent of those asked fully agreed or agreed that cannabis should be state-controlled; 22 per cent had no view on the issue while 23 per cent disagreed or fully disagreed.
“There are dangers connected to cannabis. But we often forget that most Danes’ cannabis consumption is intermittent and recreational and has no negative social or psychological influence on them,” says Narcotics Researcher Jakob Dumant of Aarhus University.
Red Green Justice Spokeswoman Pernille Skipper says the result of the poll should make the government consider legalising cannabis.
“The use of cannabis is widespread but unregulated. It must be controlled so that we can advise users so they don’t get bad cannabis or too much THC and we must make sure that children cannot buy it. At the same time we can minimise income for organised crime,” Skipper tells metroXpress.
While Social Democratic Justice Minister Morten Bødskov recently rejected the idea of a trial arrangement in Copenhagen, the Socialist People’s Party has a more nuanced view.
”There are clear benefits as Pernille Skipper says. But there are also difficult and complex legal, social and health issues. So our proposal is to have a Hash Commission which can develop possible solution scenarios in order to reduce the number of addicts,” Justice Spokeswoman Karina Lorentzen says.
Conventional wisdom on the subject gives no direct indication of which way to go, as there are both benefits and drawbacks of both legalisation and stiffer penalties.
“Everything has an unintended effect. Stiffer penalties give a harsher criminal environment and user stigmatism, but probably do not reduce overall consumption. Legalisation would stop the black market but would result in extra consumption, which could also mean more addicts. On the other hand there would be less money for the criminals, although their numbers would probably not be reduced,” Kim Møller of the Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research at Aarhus University tells metroXpress.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood