France’s newly appointed Interior Minister said that the country would like to decriminalize marijuana possession by September.
In an interview on May 24th with French news channel BFMTV, Gérard Collomb stated that under the proposed rules, those caught with small amounts of pot for personal use will receive a fine of up to €100 and no further prosecution. Collumb’s office stated that they “are launching without delay.” Macron himself has gone on record as saying that it is “vain to systematically penalize the consumption of cannabis.”
The new policy will be in stark contrast to the current penalties, which are some of the harshest in the entire European Union. This is according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, which cites that at the moment, those caught with cannabis in the French nation can receive one year in prison and a fine of €3,000.
Newly elected President Emmanuel Macron campaigned on marijuana decriminalization as one of his party platforms. Now that he has won the coveted seat as leader of the country, Macron is seemingly making good on his promise.
Despite the overly-aggressive punishments for pot currently in play, approximately 550,000 people in France between the ages of 15-64 use cannabis every day. That is 1.5 percent of the country’s total population.
If all goes as planned for France and marijuana reform, the country will join an existing chorus of nations in the European Union that have chosen the path of enlightenment when it comes to pot.
Some of the latest developments with France’s neighboring countries include the Island of Malta which is considering legalizing adult-use cannabis after having decriminalized it in April of 2015. A bill in Italy to legalize pot is in the process of being drafted, and most recently, the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom have made full cannabis legalization a part of their campaign platform. With France choosing to do the same, Europe could soon give North America a run for its money when it comes to the speed at which marijuana is removed from the shadows of prohibition.