French Government Will Reportedly Consider Decriminalizing Drugs

Reaction to the possible development is divided, with some debating the language of current French laws.

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All so-called drugs should be decriminalized in every corner of the world. If you're not convinced that's the most righteous path, then promptly do some research.

With that knowledge firmly at the front of your mind, you should consider the latest developments out of France as being a possible step in the right direction. Two French assembly members have reportedly recommended competing options intended to alleviate the "strain" on their criminal justice system, Dazedreported Wednesday. The assembly members, centrist Eric Poulliat and center-right Republican Robin Reda, were asked by the government's National Assembly Laws Commission to take a look at drug policies and provide advice.

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Poulliat has recommended a fine for possession and criminal prosecution if said fine isn't paid on time, while Reda is calling for personal drug use and possession to be bumped down to a non-criminal offense (i.e. no prosecution). A decision has not yet been made by the government.

While many regional news outlets have focused on the weed side of this development, Talking Drugs—who first reported on the larger issue at play on Monday—claimed that any change would actually have an effect on "all" currently illegal substances. "There is no legislative distinction between cannabis and any other drug, so the report cannot create a specific way to deal only with cannabis," Benjamin Jeanroy, ECHO co-founder, said. "The fact that the recommendations would affect the law around all illegal drugs is probably the most crucial part of this report."

While many have expressed optimism regarding this development, others are more skeptical of the outcome:

France, which has traditionally had some of the most repressive drug laws in Western Europe, will consider the decriminalisation of drug use - following a recommendation for it in a government-commissioned report

— Release Drugs (@Release_drugs) January 23, 2018

Positive news on ending the criminalisation of people who use drugs in France - just weeks after the announcement in Norway

Cowardice and negligence on behalf of the @ukhomeoffice to continue to casually reject the idea - despite all evidence and expert advice

— TransformDrugPolicy (@TransformDrugs) January 23, 2018

[FRANCE] "The goal of both proposed reform recommendations is to decongest the criminal justice system - not to alleviate the harms of criminalisation upon people who use drugs" | As pointed out by our colleagues at @FedeAddiction, this is panning out to be a missed opportunity.

— IDPC (@IDPCnet) January 23, 2018

Still, at least we're seriously talking about decriminalization. That's a start, if nothing else.

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