France has launched a public consultation about cannabis legalization asking citizens about their views on cannabis and what government policies people would prefer, France24 reports. While the comment period is open until February 28, more than 175,000 people have already responded on the website since January 13. Normally such consultations get about 30,000 responses, the report says.
France has the highest rates of cannabis use in Europe.
Questions posed by the consultation include: “Do you think current policies on cannabis are effective in fighting against drug trafficking?” and “Do you think the risks associated with cannabis are the same as, more serious than or less serious than those associated with alcohol consumption?”
MP Caroline Janvier, a member of the parliamentary committee on cannabis and member of the centrist La République En Marche, said the survey would give lawmakers “more data” than opinion polls.
“Perhaps it will confirm our belief that France’s political class is less sympathetic to the use of recreational cannabis than the public. … Our primary goal is to change the terms of the debate. Many politicians don’t think of it as much of an issue, but France spends €568 million per year on the fight against cannabis trafficking.” – Janvier to France24
In October 2020, the government finally gave the green light for implementing an experimental medical cannabis program but MP Robin Reda, the chairman of the parliamentary committee on cannabis from the right-wing party Les Républicains, said he was convinced “the government will do everything it can to drag its feet and ensure that as few people as possible get to use marijuana on this experimental basis.”
The program only allows products with THC levels up to 0.2%.
“Cannabis use is so widespread in society; we have to respond to that at a political level,” Reda said. “No one should be happy with our current policy when this repressive stance is clearly not working.”
The results of the consultation are expected to be published in April.
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