France Reduces Drug Possession Penalties to €200 Fine

A new policy approved in France over the weekend will see police issue on-the-spot fines of €200 for drug use, particularly for cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

Police in France will issue on-the-spot fines of €200 for illegal drug use, including cannabis, beginning in September, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Saturday. According to the France24 report, the fines had already been tested in several French cities but under the new policy, the penalties will now be enforced nationwide.

French law permits fines up to €3,750 and jail time for the public but few are incarcerated under the law, the report says. French people are Europe’s leading consumers of cannabis and a 2015 European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction report found that the number of 15-and 16-year-olds who use cannabis is higher in France than any other country in Europe.

In 2015, 140,000 people in France were arrested for drug offenses, with just 3,098 sentenced to incarceration.

Castex said on Saturday that the new rules allow police to apply a “punishment without delay.” The policy includes provisions reducing the fine to €150 if paid within two weeks, but courts can levy a fine up to €450 if the payment is not settled within 45 days. Castex told reporters that 150 law enforcement jobs would be created along with the new policy to “strengthen local criminal action for the repression of everyday delinquency,” according to a Euronews report.

President Emmanual Macron supported spot fines during his presidential campaign, saying they could be used to deter petty crimes that often go unpunished.

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