By Roland Sebestyén
Just days after a French MP called for cannabis reforms, and even a referendum in France, the results of a government online survey on the subject are in. The data shows that the majority of respondents would support the legalisation of recreational cannabis in the country.
According to RFI, more than 250,000 people took part in the survey with more than 80% announcing their support for reforms to make recreational consumption and production legal in France.
Furthermore, over 85% of those surveyed believe that individuals should be permitted to grow a proscribed limit of cannabis for personal use.
On the other hand, only 14% would opt for the decriminalisation of adult-use and 5% of respondents said the current restrictions are not strict enough. Less than 1% of respondents believe that legislation around cannabis should stay as it is.
Reacting to the results, LREM MP Caroline Janvier said: “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.”
Nevertheless, RFI quotes France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin saying that he opposes legalising the drug.
Yet, Jean-Baptiste Moreau, MP for Creuse and the head of a parliamentary commission on the use of recreational cannabis, said he thought legalising adult use of the drug could be a possibility in France.
On Sunday (January 28), Mr Moreau said on Franceinfo: “We really must have a debate to enlighten citizens on this issue.
“Today we have a ban, but we have record levels of consumption. So, the situation is untenable.
“Prohibition is not working. It just creates a parallel market. We have a significant parallel economy, which finances other networks, such as arms trafficking and others.”
According to Mr Moreau, decriminalisation wouldn’t be effective enough in solving the problem.
The MP suggests that the government should establish a system to regulate the legal cannabis market to ensure customers receive safe and high-quality products at a reasonable cost.
Recent data reveals that France has the joint highest cannabis usage rate in Europe – tying with Spain – with 11% of the population believed to use cannabis.
The figures put the country ahead of Italy (10.2%), the Netherlands (9.6%), and Finland (8.2%). The UK is also in the top 10 with a usage rate of 7.1%.
Last October, Olivier Véran, the Minister of Solidarity and Health, signed a decree to begin a pilot programme, which could eventually supply patients with free medicinal cannabis.
According to the proposal, 3,000 people with a number of conditions and diseases – such as refractory neuropathic pain, certain forms of drug-resistant epilepsy, certain intractable symptoms in oncology linked to cancer or anticancer treatment, palliative situations, painful spasticity from multiple sclerosis or other pathologies of the central nervous system – will be able to apply for the prescription from March.