If you’re wondering “Is weed legal in France?” then you’ll be surprised by the answer. Despite the acceptance of marijuana use in many countries in Europe, U.S. and Canada, cannabis remains illegal in France. The country has one of the harshest cannabis rules and this covers recreational and medicinal cannabis.
History of weed use in France
The use of hashish is deeply rooted in France’s history. During the invasion of Egypt by Napoleon Bonaparte and his men in 1798, they tried consuming hashish as alcohol was banned in Islamic Egypt. Napoleon’s men found hashish satisfying, and this leads to extreme consumption in the campsite. It was in 1800 when smoking and consumption of products containing hashish were banned. But despite this, Napoleon’s soldiers ignored the rule and smoked to their heart’s content.
At the same time, hashish was banned in French camps, beverages that contained the drug were also prohibited from cafes and shops in Egypt. Businesses that sold these were shut down and their owners were incarcerated. Aside from hashish sold in Egyptian cafes and stores, there were also imported hashish from nearby countries. These were seized and burned. After the occupation, troops took home hashish with them and consumed these in France.
During the middle of the 1800s, Jacques- Joseph Moreau, a French psychiatrist studied the effects of hashish on mental illness. He published in 1845 Du Hachisch et de l’alienation mentale or Hashish and Mental Illness.
Shortly after, Moreau’s study became viral and prompted the acceptance of hashish in literary groups in Europe. The Parisian club called Club des Hashischins was launched which was dedicated to hashish use as well as other drugs. Authors who became members of this club were Alexandre Dumas, Theophile Gautlier, Victor Hugo, Moreau de Tours, and Charles Baudelaire. It was Baudelaire who published a book in 1860 regarding the use of opium and hashish.
Is weed legal in France? – Legal side and reform
Possession and consumption of cannabis in violation of criminal law as well as the Loi du 31 Decembre 1970. This rule was about health measures on drug abuse and the control of drug trafficking.
When it comes to using cannabis for medical purposes, France has banned the use of marijuana for medical treatments in 1953. From then on, importing, selling, transporting and production of cannabis as well as cannabinoids are illegal in the country.
It was in 1999 when the Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire des Produits de Sante allowed the issue of temporary authorization of use for therapeutic products. But it was in 1991 when a court denied the appeal of the Mouvement pour la Legalization Controlee regarding the importation of marijuana for 10 patients suffering from terminal conditions. The group argued that this is not allowed under the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and cited the MLC’s incompetence in controlling and administering medical marijuana.
Cannabis derivatives use was allowed in June 2013 to develop various medicinal products. These may be purchased with a prescription and will only be allowed use if other medications and treatments were already exhausted. This was furtherer amended considering the production, export, transport, possession, and the offering of medical products that contain marijuana-derivatives.
All products that contain cannabis should be sanctioned by the National Medical Safety Agency. Meanwhile, some groups are looking for change to the policy citing that changes will help create a better, more straightforward way to conduct cannabinoid research.
In 2018, the National Agency for Drug Safety started research on medicinal cannabis. A committee was set up to assess a new policy for the distribution of medical cannabis for specific illnesses. This study aims to get 3000 patients and supply them dried cannabis, oils, and concentrates for epilepsy, chemotherapy side effects, and neuropathic pain. This study will last for two years with the first test conducted in 2020. Meanwhile, the tests were delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2017, President Emmanuel Macron promised reforms regarding the use and possession of cannabis. In 2018, the penalty for marijuana possession and the use of other prohibited drugs was reduced to a fine of 200 euros. In 2020, a 200 euro fine was accepted for the possession of cannabis rather than imprisonment.
Data on weed consumption among residents
According to data gathered in 2012, around 13 million French from 15 to 64 years old have used cannabis. Around a million or more residents of Metropolitan France stated that they are regular cannabis users.
France is in 4th place in the EU when it comes to monthly cannabis consumption. Countries Czech Republic, Italy and Spain were at the top of the list. Meanwhile, the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Drug Addiction released a new study on drugs in 2015. The research stated that French people are the biggest marijuana users from 15 to 34 years of age. The study also attested that marijuana quality is improving because of strong competition and developments in cannabis manufacturing.
More French people prefer to legalize cannabis
Cannabis remains illegal in France although many French people claim that they use the drug freely. In 2018, the French Observatory of Drugs and Addiction released reports that one in two French people were up for the legalization of weed use. Around 54 percent were not in favor of the legalization of weed. About 9 out of 10 respondents agreed that medical marijuana should be legalized.
In 2013, a CSA poll revealed that more than half of French people did not like the decriminalization of cannabis use. Around 44 percent claimed that the prohibition of cannabis use equates to liberty.
Is weed legal in France? If you live in France or you will visit France soon and you want to smoke weed for recreation or therapeutic use, consider local laws against weed use. Steep fines and penalties are imposed on violators despite people freely consuming weed. There are no dispensaries in France; if you use cannabis for a medical condition, secure your supply from an accredited physician and always bring your prescription and identification wherever you want to go in and around the country.