[VIDEO] Is cannabis consumption on the road to legalization in France?

Faced with the “inefficiency” of French cannabis policy from a public health standpoint, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Cese) is recommending that its use by adults be allowed in an opinion released on Tuesday 24 January.

The legalization of cannabis in France, the debate is repeated and also divided, and for the moment the balance is leaning towards a ban, except for medical advice. With one of the heaviest repressive apparatuses in Europe.

The issue originated within CESE, this advisory council of civil society and trade unions (233 members) and has worked for a long time to hear many people, to have numerous meetings and exchanges on the ground. Conclude at the end of this extensive study a positive opinion titled “Cannabis: Moving out of the status quo, towards controlled legalization”. Legislation on the so-called recreational use of cannabis. His conclusion was given on 24 January.

This option was justified in the face of a certain failure of the current and rather repressive policy in France. “Despite one of the most repressive prohibitions in Europe for more than 50 years, France is the country in the European Union with the highest proportion of drug users: 45% of people aged 15 to 64 have already used cannabis at least once in their lives , compared to 27% across the European Union as a whole, according to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The use of recreational cannabis should be allowed “only for adults at special points of sale with a license”, young people aged 18 to 25 should be the subject of “special attention”, according to ESEC on its website. Underage users should be referred “to an educational and therapeutic support committee made up of specialists,” the Council emphasizes.

Prevention tax

The institution recommends the creation of a “tax” to fund “prevention”, “care”, “cannabis research, as well as the rehabilitation of areas and support for people affected by the consequences of human trafficking”.

For Cese, the “safety and control policy” should focus on the “quality of the product”, its origin and “cultivation methods”. Human trafficking must be stopped, “especially in relation to minors.” The Consultative Assembly also calls for the protection of “places of production, processing and distribution”.

Lump sum

Cannabis use can lead to criminal prosecution and conviction. As with any “illicit use of one of the substances or plants classified as narcotics”, the penalty can be up to one year in prison and a fine of 3,750 euros (Article L. 3421-1 of the Public Health Code).

However, from September 1, 2020, acts of drug use across the entire territory can be subject to a flat fine after an experiment conducted in part of the country. The amount due is, in principle, 200 euros. It can be reduced to 150 euros (reduced amount) or increased (450 euros).

The prosecutor’s office can resort to a fixed fine for any offense related to drug use. But if the person responsible for the fine does not pay the amount due, he will most likely be sentenced by the court.

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