Marijuana could soon be legalised in Copenhagen, after the city voted overwhelmingly in favour of a scheme that would see the drug sold through a network of state-run shops and cafes.
The scheme, if approved by the Danish parliament at the start of next year, could make the city the first to fully legalise, rather than simply tolerate, marijuana consumption.
The drug is already sold openly on the streets of Christiania, a self-proclaimed ‘free town’ in the city centre, despite the closure of the neighbourhood’s Amsterdam-style coffee shops in 2004.
But marijuana has never been officially decriminalised and those caught in possession of even small amounts face fines of up to £450.
“We are thinking of perhaps 30 to 40 public sales houses, where the people aren’t interested in selling you more, they’re interested in you,” said Mikkel Warming, the Mayor in charge of Social Affairs at Copenhagen City Council. “Who is it better for youngsters to buy marijuana from? A drug pusher, who wants them to use more, who wants them to buy hard drugs, or a civil servant?”