By Roland Sebestyén
MPs in the French Parliament are set to debate a bill that would legalise cannabis, following its presentation at the National Assembly earlier this month – but it remains unlikely that the bill will gain much traction with the incumbent government.
A number of MPs are attempting to highlight the potential benefits of cannabis legalisation, according to the RFI. It is argued that the creation of a legal, regulated market would safeguard users and improve public health.
The MPs aim to “legalise the production, sale and consumption of cannabis under state control.”
In a statement, before the bill was presented for debate, participating MPs (including some from the ruling LREM party), wrote:
“This law is designed to end the repression associated with managing this drug and replace it with a public health policy for users.”
While France is home to the largest illegal cannabis market in Europe – with millions of users – the government has maintained its stance against changes to current drug laws.
However, cannabis reform is becoming an increasingly popular idea among the public. According to a recent poll published by IFOP, more than half of French citizens would decriminalise cannabis.
IFOP found that 51% would be in favour of the change – compared to 2017 when 43% said the same – a massive result for cannabis advocates and campaigners who have been working for the cause over the last four-five decades.
In addition, even more (a reported two-thirds) think that creating a regulated, state-run legal cannabis market would be a good idea going forward.
When talking to Canex, the French MP, François-Michel Lambert, the Deputy of LEF, who famously held a cannabis joint aloft in the French Assembly, said: “Legalisation, controlled by the State, would make it possible, in addition to guaranteeing the consumer of controlled products, to dry up trafficking and would create tax revenue and jobs.
“It would be accompanied by real prevention policies aimed at young people to reduce consumption and risks.
“I could be worried about promoting the legalisation of cannabis. Just pulling out a joint could also create scandal.”