Theater of Cruelty

A political paradox

In Denmark, cannabis users will be kept in the old role of addicts and criminals. 


According to the European Drug Report, Denmark is one of the countries in Europe where most people use cannabis as a drug. In 2014, 10 percent used more cannabis as an intoxicant than in the Netherlands, where there is total legalization. In Denmark, we have a very tough debate, where the fronts have been drawn up. On the one hand, we have a large group of cannabis consumers and a very activist network manifested around Christiania or Thylejren. There is no compromise here: Cannabis is a human right even though the law prohibits possession, sale and consumption. On the other hand, we have the political majority that legislates against cannabis and thereby commands the police to arrest any citizen who breaks the law. Whether you are terminally ill or healthy makes no difference, you should be punished if you are in possession of, use or sell cannabis.

The political majority also represents a large part of the Danish population, where conservative opposition to cannabis is idealized. Here one will only see cannabis, abuse and crime, although it has long been proven that cannabis has medicinal properties. For example, many sick people use cannabis to relieve both serious ailments such as cancer and sclerosis, but many also use cannabis to relieve less serious illnesses such as back pain, headaches or menstrual cramps.

New figures from the USA show a drastic decrease in drug consumption in states where medical cannabis has been introduced – especially medication for pain symptoms has decreased. Therefore, the pharmaceutical industry is also under pressure, which has resulted in fierce lobbying against cannabis at the political level.

However, this has failed in the United States. The pharmaceutical industry has not been successful in stopping the cannabis revolution. In Denmark, however, it is different. Denmark has one of the world's leading pharmaceutical industries with, for example, Novo Nordisk as its flagship. In Denmark, as in the USA, cannabis is a threat to the enormous earnings that medicine provides, which is why the Danish Medicines Agency stubbornly maintains that cannabis is dangerous and harmful. It is maintained that cannabis has not been tested on humans, even though we probably have hundreds of thousands of people in Denmark alone who are daily users. One will not realize that people can relieve pain by consuming a plant one can grow at home. One refuses to believe that people themselves can administer their dose and behave as an independent individual with knowledge of the body's own signals. The Danish Medicines Agency's stubbornness is suspicious, one could suspect that the pharmaceutical industry goes hand in hand with the Danish authorities, and it's all about money.

In Denmark want one to retain cannabis users in their old role as addicts and criminals. That is why we are approaching a paradox in Denmark, because research in crime and abuse, from the Netherlands and Portugal, shows us that the release of cannabis will reduce abuse and crime. A release of cannabis will further deprive the criminals of an extremely lucrative market, and instead provide the Danish treasury with a considerable amount of billions, an amount we can instead spend on drug treatment and welfare.

In 2016, Ritzau reported on the tax benefit in Colorado: “In the state of Colorado, which legalized hashish as one of the first, hashish was sold for $ 996 million in 2016 through the legal outlets. That gave the state a tax revenue of $ 70 million a year, small $ 500 million. It was, at the same time, something more than the tax on alcohol. "

Colorado has a population of about 5,3 million inhabitants, which is close to Denmark's population, and here they have earned 70 million dollars on a full legalization already at present. In Denmark, there is a large consumption of cannabis, and we therefore have a huge illegal market where the money goes to the gang environment.

Police are diligently trying to close Christiania's hash booths. Sometimes the police storm the sanctuary several times a week, but an hour after their visit, the hash booths are up and running again. So the police are powerless, they can not stop the sale of cannabis by force, we have even come so far that the police's own experts recommend legalization. The demand is simply so great that the police are constantly seizing, not stopping the illegal business. In addition, Christiania is one of Denmark's largest international brands – thousands of tourists visit Christiania, every day, to see the Danish freedom. Wonder what the Social Democrats and Conservative politicians think about this fact? It is just another political paradox, where reason has long since disappeared from reality. How can it make sense to send battle-dressed police officers into one of the largest and most popular tourist attractions in Denmark?

This just proves, again that we are in a wrestling time around cannabis. Legalization will come, it's just a matter of time and how. The popular support speaks for itself: Despite the political majority, the vast majority of Danes are in favor of legalization: 45 percent are in favor, according to the latest poll from Gallup, while 41 percent are against, 14 percent do not know. However, 88 percent of Danes believe that the seriously ill should be allowed to use cannabis as needed. But does the political majority listen to these polls? No. They remain stubborn as a flock of donkeys in habit. However, divisions are felt among the political parties. We see most clearly that the Social Democratic mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen, speaks out in favor of legalization, while the party in general in parliament votes against every time they get the slightest chance. However, this political split may end with a cannabis revolution in Denmark. But until the Social Democrats find a way out of their identity crisis, many sick, and not sick, must criminalize themselves. Maybe it's a meager consolation, but it already seems clear that history will acquit cannabis users, in Denmark and in the world in general.

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Bruun Jensen is a freelance writer, living in Copenhagen.

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