17 million people smoked cannabis in France last year - research
Cannabis is still the most popular illegal drug in France with one in ten adults admitting that they had taken it in some form or other over the past year.
According the Barometer of Health for 2016 just published by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drugs Users, cannabis holds a “predominant” position in drug use among both adults and adolescents.
In 2016, 17 million people between the ages of 11 and 64 admitted that they had smoked cannabis at least once over the course of the previous year.
Out of that 17 million, five million said they had smoked ‘occasionally’, while 1.4 million had smoked at least ten times per month.
French people are among the highest consumers of cannabis in Europe, with 700,000 people stating that they are daily uses.
Consummation is highest among about adolescent and adult males (28 percent between the ages of 18 and 25) with 21 percent of women in the same age group admitting they smoked.
The research also found that the cost of a gramme of cannabis has risen sharply since 2006 with a gram now costing between seven and 11 euros.
Last month, France announced that it will introduce a law by year's end that will end prison terms for cannabis use, although consuming the drug will remain a criminal offence, a government spokesman said Friday.
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to reform laws on cannabis use in his election campaign manifesto. Currently offenders can face up to a year in jail plus a fine of up to €3,750.
"Last year, 180,000 people were found to be in violation of drug laws. On average these cases take up six hours of police time and the same amount for the presiding magistrate," government spokesman Christophe Castaner said.
"Is the system effective?" No," he added. "What is important today is to be effective, and above all to free up time for our police so they can focus more on essential matters."
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