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France: Parliament to Debate Cannabis Legalization

19 January 2022
The bill has virtually no chance of being passed, but at least, it can start the conversation.
19 January 2022
1 min read
France: Parliament to Debate Cannabis Legalization

The French Parliament has scheduled the discussion of a bill that seeks to legalize cannabis use and create a regulated market for the substance. The initiative was presented earlier this month by a group of MPs that includes members of the ruling party.

France has the largest illegal cannabis market in Europe, and there’s a growing sentiment that regulating it would contribute to public health and safety.

The Harm Reduction Argument

In a statement accompanying the bill, its authors said that state control is needed to protect both cannabis consumers and the society at large. This can only be achieved through the regulation of production, distribution, and sale of the substance. They also cited the social injustice of criminally prosecuting cannabis consumers.

France: Parliament to Debate Cannabis Legalization: The gable of the French National Assembly

It's the first time French politicians discuss marijuana legalization in earnest.

A similar argument was put forward in Italy where a referendum to allow weed cultivation at home will likely be held this year. In December 2021, Malta legalized adult use of the substance, and Germany’s new coalition government announced its plans to create a regulated cannabis market as one of its top priorities.

Popular Support in France is Growing

Although the French government continues with its hardline policy of cannabis criminalization, recent polls demonstrate a clear shift in public opinion. According to the latest IFOP data, 51 percent of those polled on cannabis reform think that its use should be decriminalized. In 2017, only 43 percent of respondents were in favor of the move.

Moreover, two-thirds of the respondents thought that the creation of a legal state-run market, though hardly feasible at the moment, would be a sensible policy for the future.