France and cannabis: situation in early 2018

France remains, among democracies, one of the most restrictive countries in terms of cannabis. Paradoxically, it is also the country where consumption is the highest in Europe.

Even though the debate is revived Regarding how to deal with small quantity possession, public opinion seems to be moving more and more towards flexibility. A brief update on the French situation in 2018.

When French money legally funded cannabis

At the beginning of the 20th century, in 1906, it was the French who financed the Moroccan management of Kifs and Tobacco with headquarters in Tangier. The purpose of this company was to enable the processing of tobacco and cannabis products. In order to maintain control over the raw material, it signed contracts with peasants producing cannabis. Even as metropolitan France began to apply more restrictive legislation in this area in 1916, 10 years later in 1926, it authorized the extension of culture north of Fez. More incredible still, in 1932, a law prohibited culture , however the Régie controlled by the French had managed to maintain its exception until 1954.

A restrictive legislative framework: prohibition and ban on talking about it

French law has a double peculiarity. First of all there is the Mazeaud law of December 31, 1970. This law is simple. It prohibits any consumption of products classified as narcotics, including cannabis. It treats the consumer both as a sick person, but above all as a delinquent, risking a year in prison and a 3750 euro fine. Obviously French law prohibits cultivation cannabis as part of a consumption personal. No legalization in this area. And when it comes to trafficking, the penalties are soaring: up to 30 years in prison and a 7.5 million euro fine. However in the courts, in specific cases, like that of Isabelle, quadriplegic, flexibility how to set up. In terms of cultivation and import, the only derogation concerns products containing less than 0.2% THC. But French law goes further . In addition to prohibition, the promotion, in one way or another, consumption or its traffic is prohibited. Indeed, article L3421-4 of the public health code punished with 5 years in the 17 health benefits of cannabis oil prison and 75,000 euros for this type of statement.

An evolution of opinion

If opinion polls have not always been favorable to cannabis, because of its representation to the general public, an evolution has started. in 2016, 52% of French people supported the legalization of cannabis under state control. 84% even considered the current law as ineffective. Authorization of consumption is a subject that divides generations. So it is those under 60 who are in favor, with 54%. At the same time, people over the age of 60 reject the idea 64%. investigation reveals these changes in mentality. 26% of 35-49 year olds supported the decriminalization of cannabis in 1996. This figure increased to 30% in 2012, then to 43% in April 2016. This change in opinion may be due to the consumption in France. 1.4 million French people claim to have smoked ten times a month, and 700,000 daily.

And a change from the political staff

In 2013, Manuel Valls had already suggested a decriminalization consumption of cannabis by imposing a simple fine. The project had come to an end in the face of opposition from the then president, François Hollande. During the 2017 presidential campaign, the right-wing primary candidate, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, was going to in the same way advocating decriminalization. The latest development to date comes from a parliamentary report advocating a fine ranging from 150 to 200 euros. This report indicates that there is a non-application of the law by asserting that there is "de facto decriminalization". Concretely this means that the people arrested for cannabis use (140,000 per year), the vast majority receive a simple reminder of the law. This decriminalization was already planned in the projects of candidate Macron. The latter wished to consult beforehand. Next Wednesday, the official report will be submitted to the President of the Republic, and from that moment decisions will no doubt be taken. To be continued.

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