By Roland Sebestyén
A French MP turned heads in parliament this week as he held out a pre-rolled cannabis joint while calling for the government to legalise recreational cannabis.
François-Michel Lambert, the Deputy of LEF, has long been known as an advocate for thorough cannabis reform in France.
Mr Lambert went a step further this time by choosing to display a cannabis joint while denouncing the criminalisation of the drug at 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.”
And it did. Mr Lambert was immediately called to order by the President of the Assembly, Richard Ferrand.
Mr Ferrand told Mr Lambert that “it is forbidden by our regulations to brandish this type of … object”, and it is now reported that the MP is facing a penalty for his actions.
Mr Lambert’s stunt came just one day before a cross-party committee published a report recommending recreational cannabis use to be legalised in the country as the move could help the government to “regain control of sales and better protect minors.”
Report coordinator Caroline Janvier (En Marche) told AFP that a regulated recreational market would be the “best way” to protect the people.
While France spends more than £1 billion a year on police and border controls for anti-drugs. Ms Janvier insists that police should go after people dealing the drug and not those who use it.
She said: “We propose a real risk-reduction approach to stop waging war against the user to redirect the police to the fight against trafficking,”
Ms Javier also anticipates that cannabis legalisation would mean billions of pounds for the budget – a certain amount of which could be spent on more effective prevention policies.