Is Cannabis Legalization Moving In France?

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A group of French politicians has specifically called for cannabis reform linked to COVID-19 relief efforts in the country. And this is a giant step forward in a country known for dragging its feet on the latter.

France is one of the slowest moving reform countries in Europe when it comes to cannabis. Even efforts at basic decriminalization have been put in the deep freeze of bureaucratic deliberation, and furthermore, even since Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, promised more reform. 

Ignoring the issue, however, is a temporary holding pattern. There is no more ignoring cannabis reform in Europe and of both kinds. With the World Health Organization on track to tackle cannabis reregulation in December, and numerous European countries publically announcing reform, France is being dragged by both global and more regional developments to take a stand.

Political reluctance is also beginning to fade. This month, a group of 60 French elected officials called for greater movement on legalization. Their arguments range from economic ones (i.e. as COVID relief and redevelopment efforts) to reducing the amount of money spent on policing for a legitimizing market. 

Further, foreign models, in particular Canada, the American states of Washington, California and Colorado, and of course, beyond Uruguay, the European country of Portugal, have all been cited by French politicians as a way to look to the future of cannabis not only as a “drug” but rather a fully recreationally legal substance.

What Is Likely To Happen?

The French have also moved slowly on the medical question. Unlike Germany and the UK, there have been no mass adoptions of cannabinoids into the health system, or at least calls for the same. Unlike Spain and Portugal, and other agrarian European economies, there has also been no advance on the cultivation of even hemp, let alone medical standard GMP crops for economic reasons.

Beyond the early movers in the medical game, even in Europe (and at this point that includes Denmark, Holland, Poland, Malta, Italy and Switzerland) there is of course now Luxembourg’s recreational experiment looming ever closer on the horizon. 

For this reason, it is not inconceivable that the French will move fairly major reform quickly after refusing to examine the smaller issues for so long. However, as everyone knows, in this industry, there are many instances of two steps forward and several back. With German states now deciding to interpret EU laws on CBD, it is conceivable that France could follow the guidance of both the WHO and the EU rather than the rebel states across Europe who are absolutely at this point, beating a different rhythm and on a rapid march into the future of reform.

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