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Swedish politicians fear legalized pot in Denmark

Politicians in southern Sweden are smoking mad over plans by the mayor of Copenhagen to legalize the sale of cannabis in the Danish capital.

Swedish politicians fear legalized pot in Denmark

Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen has called for a “paradigm shift” in the perception of cannabis, voicing his support for legalizing the sale of marijuana and hashish.

Part of his argument is that police enforcement efforts have proved fruitless.

“We now want to take the trade away from the gangs and create a controlled market where people can buy cannabis and know its strength,” Jensen said in an interview last month with the Copenhagen Post.

“By regulating it we can also bring healthcare professionals closer to people that abuse cannabis.”

But the Copenhagen mayor’s cannabis legalization call has sparked concerns in southern Sweden, where marijuana would be for sale just a short train or car trip away if legalized.

Nineteen local politicians from municipalities in Skåne, as well as Skåne region councillor Anders Åkesson of the Green Party, have penned a protest letter to Jensen expressing their displeasure with the plans.

“We want to distance ourselves from every step that could change attitudes to narcotics in the Öresund Region,” the politicians wrote in their letter to Jensen.

Åkesson fears that legal cannabis sales in Copenhagen would “legitimize” the drug.

“There is a clear risk that the drug will end up in the hands of more children and young people if it’s sold in stores in Copenhagen,” Åkesson told the regional Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Jensen wants to carry out a 3-year trial of regulated marijuana and hashish sales in Copenhagen for anyone over 18.

So far, however, Jensen’s plans have gained little traction with the Danish government and parliament.

TT/The Local/dl

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FOOTBALL

Who will take Scandinavian bragging rights in the ‘Battle of the Öresund Bridge’?

FC Copenhagen fans have arrived in their hundreds in the Swedish city of Malmö, which is 30 minutes by train from Copenhagen. The two cities go head-to-head tonight in the UEFA Europa League.

Who will take Scandinavian bragging rights in the 'Battle of the Öresund Bridge'?
FC Copenhagen fans in Malmö. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark's league champions FC Copenhagen (FCK in local parlance) are up against Malmö FF in the competition’s group stage, in an unusual meeting between the two geographically-close clubs.

FCK go into the match as arguable favourites, given their position as the richest club in Scandinavia and record as six-time Danish champions within the last ten years.

But the Swedish side will also fancy their chances, having won their own league, the Allsvenskan, five times in the last decade.

Danish midfielder Anders Christiansen, who crossed the Öresund to play for Malmö in 2016, said that his side were in prime position to challenge FCK for the claim of being Scandinavia’s best team.

“There has been a lot of talk about who is the biggest club in Scandinavia. If we say it’s FCK, I’d also say Malmö is right behind. And you also can’t leave out (Norwegian team) Rosenborg,” Christiansen told TV2 Sport.

Although the two cities are only around 45 kilometres apart and a train journey between them takes no more than half an hour, the Malmö-FCK match is a very rare occurrence, since each team competes in its national league.

In general, the chance for a bit of cross-Öresund (or should that be Øresund?) rivalry doesn’t come up particularly often.

In May, Malmö's Turning Torso tower retained its status as the tallest building in the Öresund region, after Copenhagen's city government rejected plans for a 280 metre tower.

That aside, bragging rights are completely up for grabs in the sporting meeting between the cities.

Thursday’s match kicks off at 9pm in the Skåne city, with the return to be played at Copenhagen’s Parken on December 12th.

READ ALSO: Tale of two cities: Copenhagen and Malmö plan international metro

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