The President of the Republic opposes, in an interview with Le Figaro published on Sunday, the legalization of recreational cannabis and reaffirms his desire to fight against trafficking. He thus buries in advance the work of the parliamentary mission “cannabis” and promises a great national debate on drugs before the presidential election. Confirmation of a safe turn when some parliamentarians believe that legalization can more effectively combat cannabis trafficking.
It took a simple interview with the head of state to bury any plans to legalize recreational cannabis. Without even waiting for the conclusions of the information mission on the regulations and the impact of the different uses of cannabis, whose final report is due in early May at the National Assembly, Emmanuel Macron has already taken a stand.
“Unlike those who advocate generalized decriminalization, I think the narcotics need a break, not a publicity stunt,” said Emmanuel Macron, Monday, April 19, in Le Figaro. “To say that hashish is innocent is more than a lie,” he continues. “Cognitively, the effects are disastrous. How many young people, because they start smoking in college, drop out of the school system entirely and waste their education? chances? And I’m not even talking about the effects of sliding to harder drugs. “
Contacted by France 24, the Élysée confirms that the President of the Republic is opposed to the decriminalization or legalization of recreational cannabis. It remains open, however, on the issue of therapeutic cannabis, for which an experiment is underway. “Today, consumption has become commonplace and we want to sanction,” adds the same source.
A line in total opposition to the future recommendations of the fact-finding mission chaired by Republican MP Robin Reda. According to our information, after highlighting the limits of the current repression, they should go in the direction of legalizing recreational cannabis by offering different tools to meet different objectives such as the end of trafficking or prevention.
“The final report of the parliamentary mission on the regulation and use of cannabis (…) will raise the health, security and economic issues that many States have already taken up. To fight against the unbearable drug trafficking and the worrying consumption of cannabis of the French, voters will not be satisfied with lazy solutions or martial rhetoric, “tackled Robin Reda on Twitter, who did not respond to our requests.
– Robin Reda (@robinreda) April 19, 2021
In particular, the deputies’ report gives pride of place to the citizen consultation carried out on the website of the National Assembly in January and February. More than 250,000 French people gave their opinion online, the second largest total of participants for a consultation of this type, after the one conducted in February 2019 on the time change. In total, 92% of those polled consider that the current law is not effective and 80% of them support the legalization of recreational cannabis.
“This shows first of all that there is keen interest in this issue. On the other hand, we are seeing a tidal wave of the ineffectiveness of the current framework”, underlines the rapporteur of the mission, the deputy La République en Marche (LREM) Caroline Janvier, contacted by France 24.
“We are moving up a gear”
However, it is the totally repressive policy that Emmanuel Macron wishes to pursue. “After having created a particularly powerful Anti-Narcotics Office, we are moving up a gear: harassing traffickers and dealers. Of the 4,000 deal points listed recently, more than 1,000 ‘punch’ operations have been carried out in recent weeks “, assures the Head of State in Le Figaro.
“Another instrument: 70,000 tort lump sum fines have been drawn up since last September, he continues. It means something clear: if you get caught as a consumer, you know that you are going to have to pay and that you are not going to escape it. It changes the balance of power. “
The context of this interview is not neutral. The President of the Republic carried out, Monday, April 19, a trip to Montpellier, alongside its Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, to show his commitment to “daily security”. Attacked by Les Républicains and the Rassemblement National for his security record, Emmanuel Macron chose a daily newspaper mainly read by a right-wing electorate to address all issues related to the security of the French. He shows his firmness, at a time when France has to face, according to him, “a sharp increase in violence against people”.
Drug traffickers bring insecurity with them and often irrigate certain separatist networks. We must not give them any respite. We have accelerated this fight. Everywhere in France.
– Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 19, 2021
However, for the head of state, insecurity and drug trafficking are closely linked. “Those who take drugs – and this concerns all social categories – must understand that not only are they putting their health at risk, but that they also feed the biggest trafficking. We roll a joint in his living room and in the end, we feed the most important source of insecurity, ”he says.
“Legalization is the best weapon against the dangers of cannabis”
“All this is a political calculation, it is electoral agitation”, severely judges the former “walker” François-Michel Lambert, now deputy of the Libertés et Territoires group, also a member of the mission of information on the uses of cannabis and author of a bill on the legalization of recreational cannabis, contacted by France 24.
“I am stunned by this method which ignores respect for democratic debate, he continues. There is a cannabis mission which must deliver its conclusions. Eighteen months of work, 200 people interviewed. CAE (Economic Analysis Council) issued a report, Terra Nova too. But all this does not exist for Emmanuel Macron who, in his approach, remains stuck in the XXe century even as our neighbors are advancing on the subject. “
However, the President of the Republic said in Le Figaro of its desire to “launch a major national debate on drug consumption and its deleterious effects”. According to our information, for the moment this is only a project that could be modeled on the Great National Debate launched in early 2019 at the time of the yellow vests crisis. “It will be a question of initiating a reflection with the ministers concerned, elected officials, the interministerial mission of the fight against drugs and addictive behaviors. But it will be a global debate of society where all the parties will be able to have their say” , assures the Elysee.
An initiative to which the members of the parliamentary information mission are now clinging, who still want to believe in the legalization of recreational cannabis in the years to come.
“What I remember from this interview is that Emmanuel Macron calls for a debate on the issue, insists MP Caroline Janvier. This will remove doubts. Few people know that this substance is less addictive and less toxic. than tobacco and alcohol. Legalization is the best weapon against the dangers of cannabis. I will have the opportunity to develop our arguments. We will see what emerges from the public debate. “
Provided that this actually takes place. Because, with the presidential election in a year, an overloaded legislative agenda, the management of the health crisis linked to Covid-19 and the future French presidency of the Council of the European Union from January to June 2022, it is difficult to see what moment could take place such a debate.