The legalization of marijuana in Europe
Is France the next?
Marijuana, a controversial issue that normally comes up in Europe during election campaigns, has returned to contention in the presidential race in France. The political debate is less about prohibition or legalization, but about nuances that many qualify as "unavoidable". So, the complete legalization or the simple decriminalization in France?
An article by Forbes offers a tour operator of the French situation regarding cannabis. Eight months before the 2017 presidential election, cannabis is invited into the speeches of the candidates. But the plant is a subject of heated controversy among the French electorate. European legislation echoes international law prohibiting the consumption of drugs. However, countries can choose between or not sanctioning their consumption. The political debate is articulated only between two alternatives:
- Decriminalization means that the use or possession of cannabis is not a criminal offense. But that production and marketing continue to be banned, as in the Netherlands.
- Legalization puts marijuana on the same level as tobacco. It raises the ban on use, production and distribution. The state replaces the dealers, regulating demand. This by excluding certain consumers, such as minors and others. And undoubtedly for the French case, the marketing will be done through authorized “pharmacies” or dispensaries. even though tobacconists offered to host marijuana ...
Situation in Europe
None of the members of the European Union has legalized marijuana completely. Spain, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands, among others, have passed laws that tolerate and regulate the use and sale of small quantities. Dispensaries, stores, coffee shops and clubs are the only places where cannabis can be distributed.
Marijuana is "sort of" decriminalized or "semi-legalized" in the Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Croatia and Slovenia, where fines are lighter… The “legalization” in these countries only carves the difference between light and hard drugs.
The Czech Republic, for example, has adopted in 2010 a law decriminalizing the possession of narcotic drugs in small quantities.
THEGermany has a "special" diet. Although possession was still prohibited, a form of tolerance was adopted. The country will certainly approve licenses for therapeutic purposes.
In 2001, Portugal became the first European country to decriminalize the personal use of cannabis. But its cultivation is considered "criminal" ... The sale is just as illegal. Yet consumption has drastically decreased among young people, which is the reverse of the French case.
In Italie, some predict that the country will legalize cannabis very soon. This country could become the second country in the world to legalize the plant, after Uruguay. Possession is still prohibited, but not for personal use.
In Spain, the cultivation of cannabis on private property and for personal consumption in a private space is legal. These activities are organized by the “Cannabis Social Clubs”. But the situation is contradictory as elsewhere, the sale is illegal.
The France and the rest of the EU consider the use of drugs, including cannabis, a criminal offense. Possession is always a crime, even if it does not always lead to jail.
More than 80% of French people think that the current punitive legislation (among the most repressive on the continent) is simply ineffective ... 52% would favor some form of legalization according to a 2016 Ipsos poll. Cannabis has become a political issue, and of society. 700 French people consume cannabis daily. While 000 million citizens smoke at least 1,4 joints per month.
Five of the seven presidential candidates are in favor of legalizing or decriminalizing the use of cannabis. The main stakeholders are: Benoît Hamon of the Socialist Party, which favors legalization, and Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet of the Republican Party would be for a kind of decriminalization in the form ofcontrolled fines...
For France, the ban on cannabis is a failure. In a column published yesterday in the Journal du Dimanche, 150 personalities from Marseille are calling for an end to the “prohibition of cannabis”. The signatories believe that cannabis is responsible for "highly organized trafficking" in the city of Marseille. Still according to them, the cannabis deal would be responsible for 27 deaths in 2016 in Marseille.
The signatories therefore call for “controlled legalization of production, sale and consumption, as it already exists in several countries”. This state regulation would put an end to mafia networks and save taxpayers legal and police resources.