(MintPress) – Washington and Colorado voters’ decision to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has gotten attention around the globe, most recently from Denmark, where officials in Copenhagen reportedly are scheduled to propose a plan on Friday calling for the import of cannabis from the two states.
According to documents from the council, the city is scheduled to propose a three-year trial of legalizing cannabis under the premise that “the legal sale of cannabis will result in decreased gang criminality, more prevention and a better life for average cannabis users.”
News editor of Denmark’s Copenhagen Post, Justin Cremer, sent an email to seattlepi.com, informing the news organization of some background information behind the city’s desire to legalize and import marijuana in order to reduce, if not eliminate, the black market.
“There is an area in Copenhagen known as Christiania, which was established by squatters some 40 years ago,” Cremer wrote. “The sale of hash and marijuana flourishes there although it is illegal. This has been an ongoing legal hot potato for decades, particularly given that the hash trade is now run and organized by the Hells Angels. It is particularly for this reason that the mayor and city council want to legalize it.
“They argue that it will keep the money out of the hands of criminals. The federal government, which is controlled by the mayor’s political party, has previously rejected legalization even though the current prime minister has previously advocated for it. The city council, however, pushes on and points to the fact that Copenhagen battled with the national government for years before finally getting legal injection rooms for heroin users.”
Denmark’s Copenhagen Post spoke with the city’s deputy mayor for social affairs, Mikkel Warming, who said that if the three-year trial program is enacted, it would be important to implement the program as quickly and effectively as possible, which is why the city is looking abroad for its cannabis supply.
“The U.S. states of Colorado and Washington recently legalized marijuana for recreational use, so it makes sense to learn from their experiences and to explore the possibility of importing from them.”
Though Warming says the city has not officially reached out to or made any arrangements with any authorities in Colorado or Washington, he added that any agreement the city would make would include discussing the issue with U.S. federal authorities.
“It is vital that the production and import is legal on all levels,” he said.
But allowing marijuana to leave the state’s borders is what Washington and Colorado have vowed not to do, in the hope that the federal government would allow the states to keep their legalization laws.
In addition to pressure from the federal government to maintain the strictest marijuana laws, Washington and Colorado also are facing pressure from the United Nations (U.N.), whose International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has put pressure on the U.S. federal government to block the recreational legalization of marijuana, citing fears that legalization will negatively affect the health and well-being of U.S. citizens, especially youth.
Washington’s Gov. Jay Inslee has said that a key issue in the federal government’s decision on how it plans to respond to state’s legalization laws is in relation to “leakage of marijuana outside the state” boundary. This explains why Inslee specifically told U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that marijuana produced and sold in Washington would stay in Washington.
Even if the proposal for a trial legalization in Copenhagen fails, or the city is not able to obtain cannabis from the United States or Great Britain, Warming says the point of Friday’s conference is to put pressure on the national government in Denmark to convince parliament legalizing cannabis is a good idea.
“This is common sense,” Warming said. “As local politicians, we are closer to reality. The ban on cannabis has failed. People can get it anywhere, it is mixed with harder drugs and it finances crime.
“If we get the trial, which would be a three-year experiment, we will try it and then see what the results are,” Warming said. “If it is successful, we will work towards permanent legalization in Copenhagen and the whole of Denmark.”
One of the main speakers at Friday’s conference is Peter Holmes, the city attorney of Seattle, Wash., who was a sponsor of Washington’s legalization bill, Initiative 502 (I-502), and is reportedly attending the meeting to offer advice on legalization.
Warming said he plans to discuss the ability for Copenhagen to import marijuana from Washington with Holmes on Friday. But according to a spokeswoman for Holmes, the city attorney has said that the state’s law would not allow for the exportation of pot to Denmark.
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