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Europe: Hash Crackdown in Copenhagen's Christiania Didn't Work

In a classic example of the unintended consequences of prohibitionist drug policies, the Copenhagen Post reported Thursday that six years after the conservative Danish government began its crackdown on Christiania's famous Pusher Street, the hash trade not only still exists, but has spread throughout Copenhagen and has gotten harder-edged.
entrance to Christiania, Copenhagen (courtesy Wikimedia)
Christiania is a neighborhood in Copenhagen that sits on the grounds of a former military base taken over by young radicals back in the 1970s. Over the decades, Christiania has fought to maintain its autonomy and self-rule, and has remained a bastion of counterculture values. But it is under unceasing assault by the Danish government. Part of that assault has been the crackdown on Pusher Street, where soft drug sales were long tolerated by the Christiania community, and where, according to the Post, they still take place, albeit in a more subterranean fashion.

"If the goal was to stop the trafficking of hashish in Christiania, then it has absolutely not succeeded," Peter Ibsen, president of the Police Officers Federation, told MetroXpress newspaper. "I think the best thing you can say is that the booths are gone in Pusher Street. But hash is still being sold as much as it ever was."

"Anybody can see that Pusher Street is alive and functioning," confirmed Kirsten Larsen, a Christiania resident and spokesperson. "I'd even say the trade is growing because there may not be enough funding available for the same massive police actions that began in 2004," she said.

But the atmosphere has changed for the worse, Larsen said. "Eyes nervously follow you around now," she said. "But that's because the police raids have left only the hardest criminals controlling the trade. And that inevitably means that we have to fight internally to keep the harder drugs out of Christiania."

Police concede that not only has their crackdown not stopped hash sales, it has benefited the hardest dealers, some with gang connections. Gang violence related to the trade in prohibited drugs has been on the increase.

While the conservative government continues to support the crackdown, politicians on the left said that things were better when the police left Christiania alone. There needs to be a new approach they said.

"So far a ban and a massive police operation have not produced any results," said Karina Lorentzen, legal spokeswoman for the Socialist People's Party. "We simply have to study the situation more thoroughly so we can get some better ideas of how we deal with marijuana trafficking and the increasing misuse of hash."

The primary accomplishment of the crackdown has been to spread the hash trade throughout Copenhagen, Lorentzen added. She has proposed the government create a hash commission to study the issue.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Eliminate the tobackgo first

This summary doesn't mention anything about studying the pernicious practice of mixing hashish with tobackgo to get it to burn faster, which can lead to nicotine addiction and may be the reason why tobackgo addiction is actually higher in Europe currently than in the USA.

If cannabis were legal, nobody would bother pressing hashish cakes any more, rather loose fine (Mesh #30) kief would be semivaporized in teentsy 10-mg. single tokes in a long-drawtube one-hitter (and efficiently rebreathed via 30 warm wet "W"'s in and out of a one-liter breadbag, or do you do shotguns).


It's a shame that hardcore criminals have taken over the drug trade not just in Denmark, but in the U.S. as well. About 40 years ago, I enjoyed the benefits of hash, and the fashion in drugs changed to cocaine, then to heroin, and later meth. I left the drug scene out of personal choice 30 years, because it was too risky to my own well being; there are two legged predators amongst us. They are the criminal creep on the left, and the cop on the right.

What's needed is a wake call to the People in the U.S., that the war on drugs, and draconian drug laws are a failure. We don't need anymore strongman approach from society's institutions. It only fuels the illicit drug industry, creates violence everywhere, and breeds corrupt governments that encourage socity's corrupt institutions.

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