No More Smoking Weed in Public: France Imposes €200 Fines
France is looking to stamp out illicit drug use, and cannabis use in particular, by issuing €200 on-the-spot fines.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the spot fines, tested in several cities across the country, will be imposed nationwide starting September 2020.
Existing laws in France punish illicit drug use with up to one year in prison and a fine of almost €3,750 (around $4,000). However, few offenders actually do any jail time as in minor cases the prosecution is waived or simplified.
This new measure, the French PM stated, will ensure that punishment is inflicted “without delay.”
He added that the new law would help fight against sale points used by drug dealers, which are “eating away at neighborhoods.” It will also be useful in lowering the number of petty crimes that go unpunished but overload the court nevertheless.
France is the leading consumer of cannabis in Europe and number three in terms of cocaine use.
On top of that, it has the highest number of underage cannabis users (15- and 16-year-olds) on the continent, according to a 2015 survey conducted by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug addiction.
Looking at the 2019 report by the same EU agency, cannabis is the most widely-used substance in France, whereas cocaine takes second place (21.8% of young adults reported using cannabis the past year, compared to just 3.2% and 1.3% who reported consuming cocaine and MDMA, respectively).
The new fines will be reduced to €150 if settled within 14 days, or increased to €450 if it’s not paid within 45 days.
This decision effectively puts an end to all hope of ever decriminalizing cannabis in France, at least for the time being.
Europe could be a budding market for cannabis companies. Nevertheless, there’s still a long way to go before recreational weed use is legalized and the market unlocks its full potential.