DENMARK: The city of Copenhagen should be growing its own weed, said its mayor last week. According to Social Democrat Frank Jensen, the Danish capital can only get a grip on its huge trade in Cannabis if the state itself muscles in and displaces the pushers. Aware that a municipal government peddling its own grass might sound a little crunchy, Jensen is emphasizing the proposal’s seriousness. “This isn’t a hippie proposal,” he told newspaper Berlingske. “It’s being discussed by people in suits and ties.”
If the suits alone aren’t enough to persuade you, this is how it would work. The municipality of Copenhagen would supervise the growing of marijuana and then sell it at a market-busting price, from five or six outlets across the city. Modeled on pharmacies rather than cafés, the dispensaries would sell a maximum amount of 5 grams at a time, and only to people over 18 who possess Danish health insurance cards.
The state taking over the pot trade itself may sound unorthodox, but in Nordic countries it has a historical precedent. In Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands, the state has been the sole legal purveyor of alcohol for a large chunk of the past 100 years. Copenhagen’s reasoning for creating a similar system for cannabis is that if the city plows the profits into drug rehabilitation programs, drug-related crime – and possibly even cannabis use – should fall.