In June 2019, with around twenty deputies, we tabled a bill relating to “the controlled legalization of the production, sale and consumption of cannabis” [ PDF ]. The same week, the Economic Analysis Council (CAE), a think tank attached to Matignon, advocated in a well-documented report [ PDF ] the legalization of recreational cannabis and a forum in the “Obs” , signed by 70 doctors, economists and national and local elected representatives, argued for this legalization.
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These initiatives for the legalization of cannabis denounce the counterproductive effects of the prohibitionist policy put in place with the law of 1970, but above all focus on the benefits of this legalization.
The economic argument comes back in force at a time when we are seeking billions of euros to deal with the health, economic and social crisis caused by the Covid-19. Legalization would make it possible to bring each year into the coffers of the State between 2 and 2.8 billion euros and it would create between 30,000 and 80,000 jobs, especially in the agricultural sector.
The security argument which demonstrates that legalization would relieve the police of more than 120,000 arrests per year for simple use and more than a million hours of law enforcement work is widely shared. Let us not forget that the cost of repression by the police and the judiciary is estimated between 550 and 700 million euros per year.
The health argument which places the protection of young people at the heart of prevention policies is just as relevant. To legalize is to control the distribution of the product, its composition while allowing the development of real public health, prevention and support policies for users.
The social or societal argument, finally, which consists in ceasing to make the consumption of cannabis a legal problem and a medical problem without seeing the trivialization of the product, the diversity of its consumers, its anchoring in society and its multiple uses. It is also a question of listening to developments in public policies on the subject, drawing inspiration from experiences conducted around the world.
Develop a pragmatic approach adapted to our country
France should be inspired by foreign models, by building a public policy in the light of their strengths and weaknesses. Canada, the states of Washington, California and Colorado in the United States, Uruguay, or Portugal, represent diverse experiences and a tremendous opportunity to develop a pragmatic approach adapted to our country. We cannot ignore the profound changes underway both internationally and within the European Union: recently Luxembourg and Israel have declared that they want to move forward with the process of legalizing cannabis.
It is more than ever necessary that we be able to move forward on objective foundations, in particular via the fact-finding mission to the National Assembly, all the more so since the Covid-19 crisis raised the question of dependence and the role of the cannabis during confinement and health crises.
A unique CANNAVID survey piloted by the Marseille associations Bus 31/32 and Plus Belle La Nuit, in partnership with Inserm (National Institute of Health and Medical Research), launched at the end of April, looked into the consequences of confinement on the uses, practices and health of regular cannabis users. The results indicate a significant increase in consumption with very largely therapeutic motivations or self-medication linked to stress, insomnia, pain. For many, confinement has remained a painful ordeal that cannabis has managed to alleviate.
Police say that the logistics of trafficking has been reinvented to deal with the crisis. Neither prohibition nor containment had any effect on consumption. Tomorrow, the logistics of traffic will also be organized according to the new frontiers of legalization.
We will do the black market in France while we can go and get supplies without constraint in Luxembourg which will become the first European country to legalize the cultivation, trade and consumption of cannabis for recreational use. The absurdity of our system has been proven.
The legalization of cannabis by 2021 would therefore help to secure the entire population in terms of health and consumers first.
But before legalizing, it is very quickly a matter of decriminalizing use while allowing real public debate. Decriminalizing as most of our European neighbors have done would no doubt be a strong and responsible sign vis-à-vis the millions of French people who consume and are tired of being considered only as sick or delinquent.
François-Michel LAMBERT deputy and co-president of LEF (Liberté écologie fraternité); Caroline JANVIER, MP LREM; Jean-Luc BENNAHMIAS, member of the EESC (Economic, Social and Environmental Council) and former MEP; Sylvia PINEL, MP PRG; Guillaume CHICHE, MP; Aurelien Taché, MP; Delphine BAGARRY, MP; Sébastien NADOT, deputy MDP (Mouvement des progressistes); Jean Lassalle, MP; Michèle VICTORY, PS MP; Loïc PRUD’HOMME, Deputy LFI; Esther BENBASSA, Senator EELV; Olivier CADIC, Senator UDI; Frédérique DUMAS, MP; Jean-Michel CLEMENT, MP; Valérie PETIT, MP; Hubert JULIEN-LAFERRIERE, MP; Annie CHAPELLIER, MP; Moetai BROTHERSON, MP Tavini Huiraatira; Sonia KRIMI, MP LREM; Guillaume GONTARD, senator; Joël GIRAUD, LREM deputy; Gil AVEROUS, Mayor of Châteauroux, LR; Jean-Luc ROMERO, IdF Regional Council, President of ADMD (Right to Die with Dignity Association); Olivia HICKS, 1erdeputy mayor of Paris 2eme, EELV; Stéphane GATIGNON, former Mayor of SEVRAN; Gaspard KOENIG, Philosopher and Founder of Free Generation; Dr Béatrice STAMBUL, psychiatrist, Honorary President of AFR (French Association for Risk Reduction); Martin VICTOR, RDR BUS 31/32 project manager; Robert J. GARY-BOBO, CREST ENSAE member (Center for Research in Economics and Statistics); Benoît VAN DERMAEUSEN, 1st Vice-President JAP coordinator; Bénédicte DESFORGES, Police Collective against Prohibition; Khalid TINASTI, Secretary General of the World Commission on Drug Policy; Henri BERGERON, research director at CNRS; Dr Aurélie TINLAND, psychiatrist; Dr Michèle BOURELLY, doctor of Pharmacy; Sandra LA BERTHE, RESAD84 coordinator; Dr William LOWENSTEIN, President SOS addiction; Jean-Pierre CECCALDI, Founder Magazine le Cannabiste; Catherine AUMOND Professor; Michel KAZATCHKINE, member of the world commission for drug policy; Renaud COLSON, teacher-researcher; Farid GHEHIOUECHE Spokesperson for Cannabis without borders; Florian CLARTE; Tom DECORTE Institute For Social Drug Research; Stéphane MONTIGNY, President of AIDES Paca; Anne COPEL, GRECC (Research and clinical studies group on cannabidoids); Dr Christian SUEUR, GRECC; Nicolas BONNET, GRECC; Dr Olivier BAGNIS, Referent Doctor of the CSAPA (care, support and prevention center in addiction) of Baumettes; Dr Eric MALBOS, psychiatrist; Dr Guillaume BAYET; Dr Muriel GREGOIRE, Addictologist; Dr Rodolphe INGOLD, GRECC; Fabrice RIZZOLI, President of CRIM’HALT; Dr Laurent GOURARIER, Psychiatrist; Pierre CHAPPARD, Member of psychoactive agents; Fabienne LOPEZ, Active Principle; IARC – The Cannabis Information and Research Collective