France will introduce a law by year’s end that will end prison terms for cannabis use, although consuming the drug will remain a criminal offence, a government spokesman said on Friday.
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to reform laws on cannabis use inhis election campaign manifesto.
“Last year, 180,000 people were found to be in violation of drug laws. Onaverage these cases take up six hours of police time and the same amount forthe presiding magistrate,” government spokesman Christophe Castaner said.
Castaner stressed however that the new measures will not amount todecriminalisation of cannabis use, recalling that Macron had no wish to reopenthat debate “because consuming drugs remains serious and is dangerous tohealth“.
The move to simplify the judicial procedure was welcomed by police unions.
“It’s a good idea that takes reality into account,” argued Patrice Ribeiro, of thepolice officers union.
According to a monitor, the French Observatory for Drug Use and Addiction, 17 million French citizens in 2014 said they had taken cannabis at some point intheir lives, and 700,000 used it daily.