Will paying a fine for smoking a joint soon be a distant memory? Faced with the “bitter” failure of the repressive policies carried out for more than 50 years, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Cese), spoke out on Tuesday in favor of a “framed legislation” of cannabis.
Today, the consumption of cannabis exposes to a fine of 200 euros (or 150 if the amount is paid directly or within 15 days of the violation). But this repressive measure which “strongly mobilizes the police and justice services” has no real impact on the scale of trafficking and the level of cannabis consumption in France remains the highest in Europe.
After a year of work on the subject and field trips (particularly in the south of France), the Cese has in fact observed that nearly half of French adults have already used cannabis during their lifetime, compared to a quarter in the whole of the European Union. And the youngest would be in particular “more and more exposed to unframed products”.
Sector of excellence and legal businesses
But concretely, what could a “framed legalization“? Le Cese first suggests to “no longer repress the consumption of cannabis“, but also of “build a sector of excellence“, in order to produce less, but better.”One of the objectives is to reduce the risks in order to consume less but consume better. To do this, you must be able to set up a chain of excellence for better products and better uses.“, indicates Florent Compain, one of the rapporteurs of the text.
Through 11 recommendations, the Cannabis Commission proposes a 3-step action plan to achieve the #legalization of cannabis and thus help to improve the #preventionfight against trafficking, better control the quality of products… pic.twitter.com/Kc1KfN2FGq
— CESE (@lecese) January 24, 2023
But above all, legal businesses could emergeon two conditions: they will have to obtain a license and the managers will be obliged to follow a “mandatory training in risk prevention and reduction“. These establishments will be reserved for adults and cannot be located near schools. Identity checks will also have to be carried out at the entrance to these stores.
The sale would obviously be prohibited to minors and “any propaganda or advertising in favor of cannabis as well as any free or promotional distribution” will be banned.
The Cese does not encourage the consumption of cannabis
This framed legalization does not, however, constitute an incentive to smoke, defends the Cese. She will have to “be supported by a policy of education, prevention and the fight without weakening against all forms of trafficking”says Jean-François Naton, who led the working group for a year.
But does the Cese’s opinion really count? This body has a purely advisory opinion and the government is not obliged to follow its recommendations. The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron himself does not have a clear opinion on the question: recognizing “interests” in legalization as Minister of the Economy in 2016, he finally declared himself “not in favor ” during the campaign in March 2022.
Which countries have taken the plunge? Abroad, Canada and Uruguay have already legalized the “recreational” use of cannabis. In Europe, Malta was the first country to do so and Germany is expected to follow by 2024.