Copenhagen: News from the Danish Hash Market

Posted on June 16, 2006

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by sabine behrmann

Last week a young man was clubbed to death just outside of Christiania the legendary heaven of cannabis afficionados from all over the world. As it turned out he had been killed because he had tried to sell a couple of grams of hash on the steadily more pressed hash market where dealers from established gangs feel the breath of the police in their necks and do not look kindly upon any kind of competition.

Two years ago Christiania’s hash market called "Pusher Street" was closed by the police. They had been ordered to be tough on drugs, and since getting at the drug lords is difficult and not very spectacular catching the small fish was what they could muster.

While the regular dealers were in prison others tried to monopolise the market. This has led to rivalries, which time and again end in violence, preferably with fire arms.

Each and every day of the year the police of Copenhagen spends 200 man hours patrolling the area. And yet not one single officer was around when the young man met with his killers. Maybe they were catching up on their paper work.

Afterwards the usual complaints have been uttered: the police feel let down by the citizens of Christiania, who feel let down by the police – and the neighbours are complaining about the impossible situation the continued trade puts them in. They believe that the people living in Christiania just aren’t tough enough on the culprits. They say that since Christiania rid itself of the dealers of hard drugs in the 1990s it ought to be possible to do the same with the hash dealers.

Politicians are not too keen on closing Christiania. It is, after all, Copehagen’s second most popular tourist attraction, and a symbol for the tolerance Danes want to be known for abroad. Maybe they just hope that the whole problem will solve itself in the end.

As long as they are undecided tourists are advised not to bring their own supply of cannabis to town.

Just in order to be on the safe side.