FRANCE – CANNABIS

Most French people in favour of legalising cannabis, parliamentary survey finds

A new French survey shows that the majority of 250,000 respondents agree that cannabis should be legalized.
A new French survey shows that the majority of 250,000 respondents agree that cannabis should be legalized. THOMAS COEX AFP/File

A majority of French people are in favour of legalising cannabis for recreational use, according to a recent parliamentary survey. Although France has Europe's highest number of cannabis smokers, it also has some of the harshest drug laws.

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The survey, involving a quarter of a million people, was carried out last month by a parliamentary fact-finding mission, which showed that more than 80 percent of those polled agree that consumption and production should be allowed, governed by law.

“We now know that the legalisation of cannabis is no longer a taboo in France and that our fellow citizens are observing the ineffectiveness of the current legislation in the matter,” said LREM MP Caroline Janvier in a statement.

However, only 14 percent believe it should be decriminalised, while nearly five percent believe sanctions against it should be strengthened, but less than one percent believe that France should keep the legal framework the way it is now.

Of those who responded, some 30 percent said they had never used cannabis, while nearly 40 percent said they used it occasionally, less than 20 percent said they used it regularly, and nearly 15 percent admitted to using pot on a daily basis.

More than 85 percent of those surveyed said that the state should allow individuals to grow pot plants within a proscribed limit.

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has said he opposes legalising cannabis.

Some social media users said that this could be a way for the government to generate additional income.

Another aspect of the discussion is the use of cannabidiol, or CBD for patients suffering from chronic pain.

The National Assembly had already authorised cannabis use (with the exception of smoking) for therapeutic reasons, for at least 3,000 patients suffering from serious illness.

The authorisation was pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic but will be allowed as of 31 March.

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