According to the new bill, introduced into Danish parliament earlier this week, zero tolerance policy should be replaced with a “stepladder” model, in which the penalty for driving intoxicated shall depend on how much marijuana can be traced in the driver’s blood. The current rules, which many consider too harsh, say that cannabis-intoxicated drivers are punishable by a fine and a suspended driver’s license for three years.
“You can actually drive pretty well, even after having smoked hash. There is obviously a limit to how much, but we believe a minimum threshold should be introduced now,” Jan E. Jørgensen of the Liberal Party told the Danish tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet. “The problem is that we have punished a lot of people who have not been of any danger to traffic at all, simply because they might have smoked marijuana a fortnight ago, and it still could be measured in the blood,” Jørgensen explained.
According to Jørgensen, the war against cannabis should be waged in other areas than the Road Traffic Act.
At present, the Danish Health Ministry is also making preparations for medicinal cannabis trials starting in 2018. According to the Metroexpress newspaper, Danish Health Minister Sophie Løhde is ready to give a four-year trial period during which cannabis will be prescribed to patients with four severe conditions, namely multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, chronic pain and chemotherapy aftereffects. The proposal is similar to the model currently used in the Netherlands, where medicinal cannabis has been legal since 2003.
“Now the boil seems to have finally been pierced, which creates relief with marijuana for Danes who are gravely ill,” Liselott Blixt of the Danish People’s Party told Metroexpress.
“The most important thing for the Danes is that medicinal cannabis finally becomes legal — it’s historic. So we politicians will no doubt be able to agree on the details,” Kirsten Normann Andersen of the Socialist People’s Party told Metroxpress.
Recently, a Danish couple was arrested for providing cannabis to cancer patients and those with other serious illnesses. Claus Nielsen, who has never kept his activities secret, used edible cannabis to treat his own osteoarthritis and subsequently decided to help other ailing Danes. By his own admission, he would like to have an open trial in order to appeal to the public, the Danish tabloid newspaper BT reported.
At present, marijuana remains outlawed in Denmark, with the exception of Copenhagen’s hippie district, Christiania. On the central street of Christiania, which has a tell-tale name of Pusher Street, assorted drugs may be procured in broad daylight.