By Roland Sebestyén
The incumbent French president has launched his campaign by visiting one of the country’s most dangerous council estates to promise harsh action against gangs dealing with drugs.
According to The Times, Emmanuel Macron, who has been in power since 2017, is serious about tackling gangland murders and drug trafficking – and to showcase how determined he is, he chose to visit Marseille, where 11 drug-related murders were reported this year.
While Mr Macron is against drugs, the French president has been criticised for the lack of focus on stopping the war on the streets.
One solution could be an overview of the country’s drug policies – starting with cannabis.
Canex has reported numerous times that the vast majority of France wants a legal cannabis market, which could result in people turning away from violent gangs.
Cannabis advocate French MP François-Michel Lambert, the Deputy of LEF, made the headlines when he held a cannabis joint aloft in the French Assembly.
He 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.”
In an exclusive interview, Mr Lambert told Canex that France is going in a deadlock against Europe, which is making its legislation regarding cannabis more flexible everywhere.
He added: “We are stepping up consumers hunting, police operations against drug dealers, and the call to denunciate.
“Our forces of order spend thousands of hours a year, emptying the ocean with a teaspoon, without result. Cannabis consumption continues to increase with uncontrollable products, often cut and heavily loaded with THC, without any appropriate public health policy.”
Although the gang wars on France’s streets are not all about cannabis – as other drugs might be more valuable for businesses on the black market –, if Emmanuel Macron really wants to tackle his country’s drug problems, changing the policy on cannabis could be a good first step.
The move would help five million people, maybe even more. Only by visiting Marseille to be depicted as a strong leader won’t solve the puzzle – actions will.