Harsh laws and high usage: France looks to reform its drug policies

The number of 15- and 16-year-olds who say they use cannabis is higher in France than in any other European country
France 24 (France)
Thursday, March 1, 2018

President Emmanuel Macron has taken steps to reform drug laws amid concerns that France has seen a continuous rise in drug use despite having some of the strictest narcotics laws in Europe. But is the country ready for a radical new approach? A parliamentary report released in January noted that – since the law criminalising drugs was passed on December 31, 1970 – the number of drug arrests in France has steadily increased, to nearly 140,000 in 2016 (or 67.5% of all arrests). In 2015 alone, there were 37,160 convictions for the use of narcotics versus just 3,481 in 2000–a 10.6-fold increase in 15 years. The report acknowledged that France’s current drug policies are “inefficient” as well as “very time-consuming for police and magistrates”.