Pusher Street Incidents Fuel Heated Discussions on Drug Policy Reform 

The entry sign to the free state of Christiania.                                                                    Photo: Theis Nielsen

By Theis Nielsen and Leonidas Kaps

Due to the recent incidents on the famous “Pusher Street”, Copenhagen has been the center of a heated political debate. The government has now decided that in certain city zones, double punishment will be enacted on all who carry and/or sell cannabis. Meanwhile, the city council is debating whether Copenhagen, on a trial basis, should become the first Danish city to legalize cannabis. Proponents stress that legalization could ease local tensions and make the state of Christiania safer again, while the opponents fear that legalization will have a spiral effect, flooding the market with even harder drugs. But the message from residents of Christiania and the nearby neighborhoods is crystal clear – action is needed. 

Source: European Drug Report 2022. Graphic: Leonidas Kaps

Irina Mejnø, a neighbor to Christiania, is one of those residents: 

“The pushers used to be very concentrated around Pusher Street, but now you’ll only find a handful there. The rest of them have spread all over Christiana, with some even moving out onto the neighboring streets, making them unsafe.”

The Mayor of Copenhagen, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, agrees that a new solution is needed if they are to make the area safe for its residents again:

“If permanently dismantling Pusher Street had been easy, it would have been done at some point over the last 50 years. But that isn’t the case. I do not doubt that the legalization of cannabis is one of the many tools we must bring into play.”