In the notorious Pusher Street in Copenhagen there will be tougher penalties for trafficking and possession of drugs in the future. This was announced by the Danish Minister of Justice Peter Hummelgaard on Wednesday. The announcement came after another person was shot dead in the alleyway in the alternative Copenhagen settlement of Christiania in late August.

The Danish government now wants to give the police the opportunity to set up so-called “penalty zones”, said Hummelgaard, for example in Pusher Street. The illegal cannabis market there had been tolerated for decades.

The fine that people who are caught using drugs for the first time in these zones would have to pay would be doubled. Repeated violations within the zones could see even casual users with a few grams of hash in their pockets jailed. The Attorney General also said Pusher Street should be permanently closed. However, he did not give a date for the closure.

Pusher Street is located in the “free town” Christiania, which was founded in the 1970s. The settlement is located on a former barracks site in the Danish capital. With the free and alternative lifestyle lived there, Christiania is also very popular with tourists. In recent years, however, gangs have increasingly taken over market dominance over the drug business, resulting in more frequent acts of violence. On August 26th, a 30-year-old was shot and several people were injured. In previous years there had been repeated shootings in Christiania. Recently, Christiania residents decided Pusher Street needed to be closed.