Edit: Since writing this and visiting at the end of last week, it seems the situation has changed and dealers are back. So this is my account and thoughts on when they were gone. I’ll try and get back this week for an update.
Living here you may have read the news about the drug related shooting in Christiania on the 2 of September and the subsequent decision of the self governing freetown to banish the hash dealers from Pusher Street. Whilst I enjoy visiting Christiania, I always avoid Pusher Street. Over the last few years this street that was once OK to walk down increasingly became a more sinister and threatening place, with the dealers wearing masks to hide their identity and there was a general air of menace about it. Even residents in Christiania had started to feel threatened in their own home. So last week saw Christianites ripping down the hash stands in a symbolic move and they will keep guard for as long as it takes to keep the criminals out.
They are urging people to buy their weed elsewhere as the sign says above. It may seem to be a little bit of nimbyism but then again who can blame them. If a bunch of armed criminals set up a stall selling hash in your backyard you’d want rid of them. With 70% of the Danish population in favour of legalising cannabis perhaps its time the parliament took a hard look at this and put the dealers out of business permanently.
So for the first time in nine years (for me) and even longer for others I took photos on Pusher Street without the fear of intimidation or worse. I spoke to a long term resident, Tanya, whilst I was there and she said how everyone was feeling so much more comfortable now the dealers were gone. There were still people skinning up and smoking weed but that’s not the issue and this will never go as it is part of the fabric of the place but the armed, masked dealers, most of whom were not Christianites, with their army netting and what they brought to this place will hopefully be kept away.
I have said many times how much I value having a place like Christiania in my city. You may not want to live in the way they do there but there is much to be admired and taken away from how the place is organised and government and how people live here. If you have never visited, do. It is an important place to experience. As Tanya said to me, so many people come from across the world to visit and experience Christiania and can’t fathom how a bunch of long haired hippies were able to squat in a military barracks and still be living there over forty years later. Long live a peaceful Christiania!