The new French prime minister, Jean Castex, announced last weekend that, starting in September, people arrested for using illegal drugs such as weeds in France will be fined €200.
According to Castex, in the weeks before his announcement, on-the-spot fines have been tested in some French cities. Rennes, Marseilles, Lille, Créteil, and Boissy-Saint-Léger are all testing this new clause. These cities aim to stop “eating away at our neighborhoods” drug crimes through “inflicting punishment without delay.”
Previously, drug use in France could be sentenced to a maximum of one year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to €3750, and the law does not seem to distinguish between personal use and possession of weeds. However, French media reported that those who found drug abuse rarely went to prison.
According to the new proposal, if the offender pays a fine within half a month after being arrested for using illegal drugs, the penalty will be reduced to €150. If the offender fails to pay the fine within one and a half months, he will need to pay a fine of 450 Euros or more. French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to use on-the-spot penalties during the 2017 election campaign to combat crime.
Since 1970, French law has made the possession and use of cannabis illegal. Despite the illicit status of marijuana, it is estimated that 5 million people in France still use cannabis, and 700,000 reported to use cannabis every day. Cannabis has become the most popular illegal drug in France so far.
Certain cannabis-based drugs (such as Sativex) have approved for use in France, and the country will also embark on a two-year national trial of medical cannabis products for the treatment of chronic pain, severe epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
In Nice, drug-related violence is on the rise, and Castex also announced that it would send 60 more police officers to the city, while at the same time “experimental” expansion of some of the powers enjoyed by law enforcement agencies.
“Last Monday there was a shooting [in Nice] in broad daylight, most likely against a backdrop of drug trafficking. I came to tell you that these unacceptable facts won’t be tolerated in neither Nice nor the rest of the country,” Castex underscored.
This article is issued by Green Camp.