France is considering decriminalising all drug use

AnewparliamentaryreportinFrancehasrecommendeddecriminalisingalldruguse.TheFrenchgovernmentisconsideringactingontherecommendation,buthasn’tannounceditsdecisioneitherway. TwomembersFrance’sNationalAssembly,EricPoulliatAMfromthegoverningcentristpartyEnMarcheandRobinRedaAMfromthecentre-rightRepublicansparty,werecommissionedbytheNationalAssemblyLawsCommissionwingthegovernmenttoinvestigatethecountry’sdruglawsandfindmethodstolessenthestrainonitspenalsystem. Despiteworkingonthereporttogether,thetwopoliticiansreacheddifferentconclusionsonhowbesttoaddresstheissue,andprovidedthegovernmentwithtwooptions. Poulliatrecommendedafixedfinebetween150to200Eurosshouldbeimposeduponpeoplefoundinpossessionillegaldrugs,andthatcriminalprosecutionshouldfollowiftheydonotpaythisfineinanspecifiedtimeperiod. Redaproposedthatdrugpossessionshouldbedecriminalised,sothatpeoplecannotbecriminallyprosecutedforthefence.Herecommendedafineshouldstillbeimposed,whichwouldincreaseifleftinarrears,butthiswouldneverescalatetobeingacriminalfence. Currently,Frenchlawstatesillicitdrugpossessioncanbepunishedbyupto10yearsinprisonandamaximumfine€7.5million.Itisraretoseethesemaximumpunishmentscarriedout,andfencesareusuallytreatedwithsmallerfinesorcautions. However,Frenchficersaregivensignificantpersonaldiscretion,andhavebeenandotherdiscriminatorybehaviour.Eachthenewrecommendationsallowssimilarlevelspersonaldiscretion,solooktobeineffectiveintacklingthisissue.TheyaremoregearedtowardsreducingcongestioninFrance’scriminaljusticesystemthanalletingtheharminstitutionaldiscrimination. BenaminJeanroy,theco-founderandheaddrugpolicyatFrench“actiontank”reformgroup,toldthatPoulliat’srecommendationparticularlyriskscontinuing“thediscriminationinthecriminaljusticesystem,becausethesamepeoplewillcontinuetobearrestedandharassedbecausedrugconsumptionandpossession–particularlyyouthfromimpoverishedneighbourhoods.Poulliat’sproposal]willinitiatearenewaltensionsbetweenthesepopulationsandthepoliceforces”. Headdedthattoeffectivelytackletheissuedrugs,ficialsmust“searchforalldistributionchannels:fromthesmallstreetdealertotheheadthenetwork”andbringthemtojustice. PresidentEmmanuelMacronhaspreviouslybackedcannabisdecriminalisationpriortohiselectionwin,buthisstanceonwiderdrugpolicyisnotclear. TheParliamentaryreviewwhichmaybringeitherthereports’recommondationsintolawisscheduledtotakeplacethisSpring. Via:] PatrickHintonisMixmag’sDigitalStaffWriter,followhimon