A survey of 1,040 respondents by Analyze Denmark found that more than eighty percent of Danes are in favor of government’s move to legalize medical cannabis. Only five percent of respondents opposed legalization of medical marijuana and the rest, fifteen percent didn’t have an opinion.
The Local looked into the survey. Will it increase the odds of prohibition coming to an end? A pilot scheme will be implemented from January next year. Now patients with listed conditions can apply for medical marijuana prescription.
Legalize medical cannabis for pain
Lasse Skovgaard, health policy manager at the Denmark’s Multiple Sclerosis Society commented on the study. He says it shows the Danish population understands that there are certain health conditions that can’t be treated by prescription medicines. Danes hope medical cannabis will do the trick.
Mette Bryde Lind, chairperson of the Danish Arthritis Society, said she is not at all surprised by the support revealed by the survey. She sees many arthritis patients in chronic pain with a poor quality of life. They have tried all sorts of treatments without finding relief. They want the authorities to legalize medical cannabis and few would oppose them.
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Four-year medical cannabis plan
Denmark will embark on the initial stage of a four-year trial period of a medical marijuana plan in January 2018. The conditions put forward by the Danish Medicine Authority (Lægemiddelstyrelsen) qualifying the ‘defined patient group’ includes chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy induced vomiting and nausea, and spinal cord injuries.
The Health Ministry told the press that the pilot plan will make it possible for patients who are currently self-medicating to be treated legally with medical marijuana. What was once a fringe treatment will become part of regular healthcare.
The Danish Parliament unanimously voted on the trial last November. The Liberals Party, the Danish People’s Party, the Social Democrats, The Alternative, the Liberal Alliance, the Socialist Left Party, and the Social Liberals all lent their support.
Major parties say no to legal recreational cannabis
Several political parties in Denmark would like to see recreational use of cannabis legalized. But the three most influential parties, Venstre, the Danish People’s Party, and Social Democrats don’t agree.
The same survey found that only thirty six percent of the respondents are in favor of legalization of recreational use. Forty five percent oppose the idea.
Christiana’s Pusher Street also came under scrutiny. Cannabis has been sold in Pusher Street since 1971 says senior prosecutor, Anne Birgitte Stürup. She says they have been fighting cannabis sales there for many years. It has no effect. Of course, it is costly, and outlawing cannabis doesn’t seem to stop people from using it.
A Gallup poll claimed that there was widespread support for full cannabis legalization. Should the Danish government legalize medical cannabis and recreational cannabis together? Naturally, a lot of people aren’t sure it’s a good idea.
Government clamped down
The Danish government declared that it doesn’t support legal cannabis. Health minister Sophie Løhde said the Gallup figures won’t change her mind. She is convinced legalization leads to more young people using cannabis and an uptick in substance abuse. Arguably, the state of Colarado showed the opposite once cannabis became legal. It is not an entry drug. In fact, the number of teenagers interested in cannabis went down after legalization.
At any rate, recreational marijuana will remain contentious for the time being, but now that government has decided to legalize medical cannabis, those who need it can get it from their hospitals.