Christiania community aims to restore peace in autonomic district – by legalizing marihuana

Residents of the Christiania district in Copenhagen, which is known for being a lawless area, want Denmark to legalize Cannabis trade to fight violence in the area.

by Maren Krämer and Stanislav Hodina

The black market on pusher street in the center of Christiania is frequently affected by physical attacks and police raids. Tine, who has been living in the area for almost 30 years, hopes that after legalization, dealers would move away from Christania. “Then the police could deal with real criminals – not the ones who just smoke marihuana.”

Tine is one of the approximately 800 residents living in Christiania.

Though she is part of the communication office, Tine’s opinion does not reflect those of every resident. As decisions in the community are made unanimously, it isn’t easy to ban drug traffic. “You can’t control pusher street if you’re not part of pusher street”, Tine adds.

The legalization of Cannabis has been a recurring topic in Europe in the past years. According to the EMCDDA, the trend in European laws has been to reduce or remove prison penalties for minor cannabis possession offences. 

Copenhagen’s mayor Sophie Haestorp Andersen addressed the issue in her candidacy last fall when she proposed establishing a governmental monopoly around Cannabis sales in Denmark. Nevertheless, all sorts of trade are still illegal in the country.

The people of Christiania are not likely to impact the decision, as their relationship to the city and the government is loaded with conflict ever since the squatters claimed the area 50 years ago. 

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