Soon the end of the fine for having smoked a joint? The Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Cese), a consultative body, decides on Tuesday in favor of a “framed legalization” of cannabis. This is what stands out work carried out for a year by a temporary commission, chaired by Jean-François Nathan, CGT confederal adviser. The latter points to a “stinging failure of the policy pursued for fifty years”, consisting to be punished with a fine of 200 euros (150 euros if the sum is paid directly or within fifteen days) the use of this narcotic.
The members of the commission interviewed many people and they also traveled to the field, particularly in the south of France. By recommending legalization, “the primary objective is to be guided by public health objectives,” said Florent Compain, spokesperson for Friends of the Earth France and one of the two rapporteurs for the opinion. This recommendation also aims to “weaken and dry up as much as possible” illegal trafficking, even if “we know that some of it will remain”, adds the other co-rapporteur, Helno Eyriey, former president of the UNEF.
The Cese is based in particular on the observation that almost half of adults have ever used cannabis in their lifetime, compared to around a quarter in the European Union as a whole. Concretely, legal businesses could see the light of day, provided that they obtain a license and that the managers follow “compulsory training in the prevention and reduction of risks”. The sale would be prohibited to minors and “any propaganda or advertising in favor of cannabis as well as any free or promotional distribution” would be banned, on the model of the Evin law concerning tobacco.
Macron’s varying positions
However, the Cese defends itself from launching “an appeal to the Smoke all », according to the expression of Jean-François Nathan. Such framed legalization “must be supported by a policy of education, prevention, and the fight without weakening against all trafficking”, he insists. The body thus recommends to “protect minors as a priority by developing a policy of support and management of uses, particularly when they are problematic and by prohibiting the sale or provocation to use cannabis for them. “.
This opinion must be approved by all the members of the Cese this Tuesday afternoon. This body, made up of personalities from civil society, has a purely advisory role and the government is in no way obliged to follow its recommendations. Emmanuel Macron himself held varying positions regarding the legalization of cannabis. Minister of the Economy, he estimated in September 2016 on France Inter that the legalization of cannabis had “interests” and presented a “form of efficiency” in terms of security and the fight against the “financing of occult networks”. But last March, during the presentation of his program for his re-election, he said he was “not in favor” of the legalization of cannabis.
A few foreign countries, including Canada and Uruguay, have already legalized the use of “recreational” cannabis. Malta was the first European country to take the plunge, and Germany should follow by 2024. In France, only experimentation with cannabis for medical use began in March 2021, to assess the usefulness and effectiveness of treatments that include active ingredients derived from cannabis.