Road Renovation Begins in Denmark’s Christiania To Deter Unlawful Hashish Gross sales, Violence


The residents of Freetown Christiania, positioned in Copenhagen, Denmark, not too long ago started to bodily dismantle part of its neighborhood the place hash has been bought illegally for many years. In keeping with current experiences, residents started eradicating the cobblestones on “Pusher Road” on April 6 to discourage violence and unlawful hashish and hash gross sales.

Previous to April 6, residents started to ask for assist from volunteers to drag up the cobblestone road. Anybody was welcome to take part, and will take house one cobblestone as a souvenir.

Eradicating cobblestones on Pusher Road was carried out as an illustration of the residents taking again their neighborhood and promising to rebuild. In doing this, they are going to be granted 14.3 million kroner (roughly $1.3 million USD) from the federal government to fund road renovation. In keeping with AP News, two Christiania kids have been the primary to elevate cobblestones from Pusher Road.

“For greater than 40 years, Christiania and the unlawful sale of medicine out right here has been an enormous thorn within the aspect of the established society,” mentioned Danish Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard. “However now we have now reached the purpose the place the Christianians have additionally had sufficient of the [criminal] gangs.”

Copenhagen Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen spoke with Reuters concerning the historic choice. “Pusher Road has to die to ensure that Christiania to reside,” Andersen said. “The crime scene we have now seen right here has been so violent… we can’t have a Christiania that’s dying out as a result of folks don’t dare to be right here and the place we see the native Christianites being threatened by grasping pushers and sellers.”

The way forward for Pusher Road will embrace “a brand new Christiania with out the prison cannabis market,” in response to an announcement from Christiania public housing coordinator Mette Prag, who has referred to as Christiania his house for 37 years.

One other resident who has lived within the enclave for 40 years expressed their curiosity in eradicating hash from Christiania’s future. “We don’t need the gangsters anymore. There could be some folks promoting cannabis afterward, but it surely’s not going to be within the open,” mentioned Hulda Mader.

Most locals are trying ahead to Christiania’s new slate. “To me, Pusher Road is definitely the least distinctive, proper? It’s what I affiliate with violence, gangs, homicide, threats, and all the pieces which are literally antonyms to what Christiania is,” said resident Mathilde Brandstrup.

The federal government funds will assist the neighborhood set up new water pipes and pavement, whereas buildings close to Pusher Road will even obtain renovations. Whereas the general objective is to remodel Christiania into what AP News calls “an built-in a part of the Danish capital space,” however will nonetheless retail the “free state” spirit that it has lengthy been identified for.

Christiania was first established in 1971 by hippies who occupied in former military barracks, and Denmark officers have allowed the distinctive settlement to stay unbiased, regardless that unlawful hashish gross sales within the space turned identified worldwide to curious vacationers. Initially, residents who based Christiania didn’t receive permits to construct homes, didn’t pay utility payments, and others may solely transfer into the realm in the event that they have been associated to somebody who was a resident. Residents obtained rights to their land in 2011, when the land (about 84 acres) was bought by the state to a basis owned by Christianians. Now it’s house to 800 adults (25% of whom are over 60 years outdated) and 200 kids.

Christiania was the main target of Denmark regulation enforcement beginning in 2004, which led to a rise in police raids. Whereas many residents took down their hash gross sales cubicles for a time, they quickly returned.

Nevertheless, a rise in violence and gang exercise has additionally involved each Denmark leaders in addition to Christiania residents. In 2021, one particular person was shot and killed on the entrance of Pusher Road, adopted by one other dying in 2022 concerned a hash vendor.

Most not too long ago in August 2023, two masked gunmen open fired inside a Christiania constructing, killing one particular person and injuring 4 others. Mayor Andersen spoke out towards the occasion, and requested vacationers to keep away from the realm. “The spiral of violence at Christiania is deeply worrying,” Andersen said. “The a whole lot of 1000’s of visiting vacationers and the numerous new overseas college students who’ve simply moved to Copenhagen to remain away and chorus from shopping for weed or different medication at Pusher Road.”

Grownup-use hashish is prohibited in Denmark, though medical hashish is permitted by way of a restricted pilot program that launched in March 2018.

The Danish Parliament’s Well being Committee introduced in September 2023 that it had destroyed an estimated 320,862 kilos of dried hashish, all of which got here from the medical hashish program. The federal government defined that the destroyed product was both “discarded” or “defective.”

The Denmark medical hashish program produced a complete of 4,656 pounds of medical cannabis in 2019, adopted by 14,521 kilos in 2020, and 71,502 kilos in 2021.

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