Steuert Frankreich auf eine Legalisierung von Cannabis zu?

Is France heading towards cannabis legalization?

Just recently, the French government launched an online survey to find out how French people feel about the possible legalization of recreational cannabis. In general, such a reform seems to have many supporters in France. Many of the country's decision-makers also seem to be flirting with the idea.

Many politicians are in favor of relaxing cannabis laws

The French newspaper Le Parisien, for example, had just asked 36 political officials in the greater Paris area if they would agree to legalizing recreational cannabis. Only 22 percent reject such a move. Another 28 percent of respondents preferred to abstain on the question, mostly on the grounds that they lacked the necessary knowledge and information to form an informed opinion on the subject. But the remaining 50 percent of politicians would vote for legalization if it were up for debate. The scientific director of the CNRS research center confirmed to Le Parisien that this result is consistent with current opinion polls.

French Parliament open to the benefits of legal cannabis use

The survey, which the government commissioned for the entire population of France and which was launched on January 13 this year, consists of an online questionnaire that citizens are asked to fill out. After the survey has been completed and the answers have been evaluated, the results will also be used as an argument in the parliamentary debate on the legalization of cannabis. The period for the online survey ends on January 28, and the results are to be announced shortly thereafter. A parliamentary working group of 33 MEPs is also currently examining the potential that legalizing recreational cannabis could have for society.

The current cannabis legislation in France

Cannabis is illegal in France. Until recently, the plant, whose use as a luxury food is extremely widespread among the French, fell under an outdated law from 1970. This law prohibits possession and trade as well as mere consumption and subjects it to severe penalties. You can get up to a year in prison and a fine of up to 3750 euros. Cannabis policy has been reformed a bit in the last year and the penalties are now much milder.

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It is now possible, if you become conspicuous with a consumption offence, to decide directly on a type of administrative offense penalty of 200 euros. The government has also given the green light to a program to research medicinal cannabis. Legalization advocates hope that this will also pave the way for recreational cannabis to be legal.

The illegality of cannabis brings with it acts of violence

In the greater Paris area, cannabis is most widespread among the population. According to the French Ministry of the Interior, 1,029 of the 3,952 drug hubs targeted by the authorities in France are in the Ile-de-France and the Oise department, which is more than a quarter. The fight against illegal drug trafficking has been going on for a long time, but so far there has been no success.

And that poses increasing difficulties for the country's politicians, since the black market consists of dealers, most of whom sell all kinds of drugs. For the players, it is always about a lot of money, and therefore also about sales markets. Escalating violence is often the result of territorial disputes. For these reasons, more and more elected representatives of the people are also advocating taking more progressive approaches and getting cannabis out of illegality, because this can split the black market and reduce cannabis to the people's drug.

Legalization is intended to weaken criminal structures

Especially the poorer suburbs north of Paris are known strongholds of the drug crime. Nicknames for these neighborhoods such as Stalincrack and Crack Hill are a clear testament to this. That's why the Le Parisien survey specifically focused on these areas, asking the mayors of the relevant cities and boroughs for their views on legalization.

Politicians often expressed the hope that a reform with the establishment of legal purchasing options for cannabis would deprive the local drug lords of an important source of income and thus enormously weaken their structures. In France, it is currently estimated that twenty million citizens have already dealt with cannabis and that a full 200,000 people make a living from the illegal trade.

Unfortunately, there are still opponents of legalization in high positions

Of course, not everyone in charge agrees, that's clear. The political left has been calling for legalization for a long time, but the idea has met with resistance, especially among right-wing Republicans. And the French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who belongs to the party La République en marche (LREM), counts himself among the opponents of legalization, who strictly reject the very idea of legal cannabis.

From him comes the statement:

"As a Home Secretary and a politician, I can't seriously tell parents who are fighting to get their kids out of drug addiction that we're going to legalize that shit. And yes, I say shit."

Importance of legalization in France for Germany and Europe

This vehemently negative attitude towards cannabis will probably no longer be possible to take Darmanin. But the population and many politicians are ready to take a new course in cannabis policy. For Germany as a neighbor, but also for the entire European Union, legalization in France could mean more than just a signal effect. The more countries around us that are pursuing progressive drug policies, the greater the pressure behind the demands for legalization in our country. In this respect, one should follow the developments in France now keep a close eye on it.

This content was originally published here.