Denmark proposes a five-year cannabis legalization experiment

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Danish officials from five political parties have proposed a plan for a pilot cannabis legalization project. The proposal was presented to the Danish Parliament earlier this month, instructing the government to begin legislative work that will culminate in a bill legalizing cannabis for five years.

According to the documentation submitted, the bill will allow cannabis sales at state-controlled outlets, in municipalities that wish to join the program, and Danish citizens will be able to buy, possess, cultivate and consume cannabis for their personal use.

Production would be legalized and would take place in Denmark. Prices would be set to “meet the expectations” of cannabis consumers and to be competitive with the illicit market. Buyers must be at least 18 years old and resident in the country.

Officials say proceeds from the sale of cannabis should be used for the prevention and treatment of addiction problems.

“The existing cannabis ban has not restricted the consumption or sale of cannabis products in Denmark since the introduction of a ban 40 years ago,” the parliamentary document reads.

Data from 2020 shows that 41% of people under the age of 25 have ever used cannabis in Denmark. General consumption among 16-44 year olds has doubled since 1994.

“Existing legislation therefore criminalizes more and more citizens, and up to half of the population have actively violated it,” the document continues.

Officials point to programs in place in Portugal, the United States and Canada, saying there is no evidence that legalization leads to increased use, especially among young people.

They also note other drug reform efforts in eurozone countries, including Norway, Sweden and Luxembourg.

Medical cannabis is currently legal in Denmark under a four-year pilot project that started in 2018.

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