Freetown not so FREE

By Cori TripC Petersen, World Cannabis – Jan 7 2015

Against the odds, a “freetown” in Denmark has survived for several decades near the capital city of Copenhagen, in a borough of Christianshavn. Freetown Christiana has carved a new way of civilized life by having unique status where some of the control is diverted from the hands of the municipality and given to the state. A former Army barracks occupied by radicals has found sustainability.

The Cannabis trade has not only helped the economics of the self proclaimed autonomous neighborhood, but was also tolerated by authorities until tactics changed, roughly a decade ago. While Cannabis is admittedly sold openly there, this did not stop authorities from seeking out and seizing nearly two tons of Hashish. Last March, over 85 individuals were arrested in one of the largest cannabis distribution networks ever discovered in Denmark. A group of 76 now face trial, with first of them sentenced Tuesday. In Copenhagen’s City Court sentences between 2 1/2 and seven years were handed out for the men after finding them guilty of delivering, storing, smuggling and distributing cannabis. The alleged leader, a 45-year-old Dane, received the longest sentence of seven years, which he appealed immediately.

Also appealing their sentences of six years were two other defendants, one of which was found to be storing 256 kilograms of cannabis resin in his home. Although according to Danish television station TV2, this was for personal use, even this seasoned consumer finds that to be a rather large personal supply.

Regardless of the unconventional way in which this “commune” was created, it has remained due largely to Denmark’s liberal society. From information gathered by the Danish Health and Medicines Authority the average price of black market Cannabis in December of 2014 was 65 crowns or roughly $10 U.S.($11.50 CDN), making the nearly 2 tons worth $20 million U.S.. ($1 U.S. = 6.2522 Danish crowns).

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