French economists make case for legal marijuana

Marijuana; In this study French economists recommended legalising marijuana, arguing it would add billions to state coffers, but President Emmanuel Macron’s government again ruled out letting recreational users get legally high. The French Council of Economic Analysis (CAE), a body task with advising the government on policy; so note that despite having some of Europe’s toughest drugs laws, the French are the continent’s heaviest users of pot.

Legalising recreational marijuana

Around 700,000 people are believe to use the drug every day in France; so out of a total population of 67 million. The system of prohibition promote by France over the past 50 years has a failure,” the CAE said in a report, accusing the ban of fuelling organise crime. The report, which was not commission by the government; which comes amid a growing debate in France over whether to follow the example of Uruguay, Canada and 11 US states in legalising recreational marijuana.

Over 70 leading figures, including the head of France’s Greens party; which made strong gains in recent European elections, sign a letter in the news magazine l’Obs on Wednesday; so calling for the drug to be made legal, arguing it was the “pragmatic” choice. But surveys show a short majority of the French still oppose to legalising pot.

The CAE estimate that, base on annual consumption of 500 to 700 tonnes a year; so taxes on legal pot could bring as much as 2.8 billion euros ($3.2 billion) to the state and create up to 80,000 jobs. Arguing that the tax proceeds from legal marijuana could help fund efforts to fight trafficking; so it called for the creation of a state monopoly to license production and sale of the drug.

Government softened penalties

But Macron’s centrist administration pour cold water on the proposal, saying it would only consider legalising marijuana for medical use. The position of the government is very clear: They are against legalisation for recreational use, Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne told LCI television on Thursday.

An EU report in 2015 on alcohol and drug use among 15- and 16-year-olds show that French teens were among Europe’s biggest dope smokers. Last year the government soften penalties for those caught smoking the drug. Whereas in the past they risk hefty fines and a one-year prison sentence in practice most; so were let off with a warning now the most they risk is an on-the-spot fine of 200 euros ($226).

He announce plans to “harass dealing points” and “topple syndicate bosses” in order to fight a trade “which is corroding whole areas of the country”, particularly the high-rise suburbs of cities such as Paris and Marseille. Mean while, the debate on legalising the drug looks set to drag on. A group of MPs, mostly from smaller leftwing parties; but also a handful from Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) party, tabled a bill this month calling for “controlled legalisation”.