Denmark’s strict laws against marijuana use may be changing soon. The country, which doesn’t allow use or distribution of marijuana of any form, is considering adopting a new bill that reduces the punishment for drivers found to be under the influence cannabis.
Another measure would green-light medicinal marijuana for specific cases, according to reports. The bills – presented to the country's parliament Tuesday – came the same day a Danish couple was arrested for allegedly supplying marijuana to patients suffering from medical conditions.
In Denmark, intoxicated drivers with any traces of weed in their blood can be punished with a fine and have their driver’s licenses suspended for up to three years. The new bill proposes that drivers only be punished if they have a certain amount of marijuana in their blood since it could take months before THC clears out of the bloodstream. Jan E. Jorgensen of the Liberal Party told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet the new bill will reduce the odds of harsh punishment for people “who have not been of any danger to traffic at all.”
Under the new medical marijuana measure, the Danish Health Ministry would also launch four-year clinical trials in 2018 allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, chronic pain and chemotherapy aftereffects.
Claus "Moffe" Nielsen and his wife were arrested Tuesday for selling marijuana to cancer patients and other people suffering from serious illnesses in Denmark. Nielsen, who pleaded guilty to the charge, has been very open about his own experiences with marijuana – he reportedly treated his own osteoarthritis with marijuana edibles – and has publically admitted to selling weed to people suffering from cancer, sclerosis and fibromyalgia, according to Ekstra Bladet. Nielsen’s wife denied any involvement in the drug dealing.
The couple is facing up to 10 years in prison for violating Denmark’s narcotics laws. Neilsen, who is not a doctor, told local media he was hoping for a public trial so Danes could see everything that happens in the case. It was unclear how or if the new medical marijuana measure could affect their case.
While 25 states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana use in the U.S., only a handful of countries in Europe has approved medicinal use of the plant, including the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Romania and France. In Copenhagen, an assortment of drugs is legal in the hippie district, Christiania.
There is no existing data suggesting driving while under the influence of marijuana can directly cause traffic accidents. However, a survey of dozens of studies found cannabis consumption impaired "all the cognitive abilities needed for safe driving, including tracking, motor coordination, visual function and divided attention," Live Science reported.