A few days before the first round of the presidential election, a look back at the positions of the French candidates for the presidential election vis-à-vis cannabis. And if the subject comes up at each election, the European context has changed a lot over the past 5 years.
On the medical side, France has (a little) advanced on the subject, by launching an experiment where 1,500 patients are treated with cannabis. On the recreational side, legalization is progressing in several countries. Malta has legalized and the German and Luxembourg neighbors are preparing for it.
Even if a legal advance around cannabis could come through a path other than politics – in particular through the courts – Newsweed helps you see things more clearly. Let’s take stock of the program of the twelve candidates for the presidential election.
4 candidates to legalize, 4 for more sanctions, 2 for a debate, 1 for the status quo, 1 to decriminalize
Let’s start with an overview. Four candidates for the presidential election want to authorize the sale of cannabis: Jean-Luc Mélenchon (La France insoumise), Yannick Jadot (The Greens), Jean Lassalle (Resist) and Philippe Poutou (New anti-capitalist party).
Emmanuel Macron (La République en Marche) wants to maintain the current legal status, but give more resources to police and gendarmes to stop trafficking.
Four candidates want them to strengthen criminal penalties for consumers and sellers: Valérie Pécresse (Les Républicains), Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Debout la France). Marine Le Pen (National Rally) and Eric Zemmour (Reconquest).
Two candidates want to give themselves some time. Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party) wants to organize a “consensus conference” with the mayors; Fabien Roussel (Communist Party) foresees a “democratic debate”.
One candidate stands out by providing for decriminalization: Nathalie Arthaud (Lutte Ouvrière). To make the difference with legalization, it’s here.
Legalization and decriminalization: a quasi-monopoly of the left and far left
Three left-wing candidates (Mélenchon, Jadot, Poutou) therefore want to legalize cannabis in France. In their projects, this measure takes several forms. We can also count on Jean Lassalle, the only pro-legalization candidate who does not belong to the left. Finally, Nathalie Arthaud does not want to legalize, only to decriminalize.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon: legalization with “state monopoly”
In his programme, Jean-Luc Mélenchon leans towards a “state monopoly”, like Quebec or Uruguay. For the candidate La France Insoumise, the French State will have to supervise the whole chain. Thereby, “the consumption, production and sale of cannabis” would be a public monopoly, a bit like La Poste in mail.
For him, the taxes collected by the sales of cannabis will have to aim “programs to fight against addictions, especially in schools”. Finally, Mélenchon wishes “entrust the management of the drug policy to the Ministry of Health and no longer of the Interior”.
Yannick Jadot: legalization with “supervised” companies
Yannick Jadot, he wants a more liberal model. He plans ” producers and strictly supervised distributors”. Even if it is not written in black and white, we guess at the environmentalist candidate a license model. In this case, a company must obtain an agreement from the State to produce or sell cannabis. This is the case in many US states.
Regarding taxation, the candidate is considering “five to six billion euros” collected from sales, in an interview with Konbini. He wants this money to go to ” health and prevention policies for drugs “. Like Mélenchon, the ecologist is considering ” a public health rather than a police approach […] to deal effectively and with dignity with the subject of drugs”.
Note that Béchir Saket partly wrote the “health” section of Yannick Jadot’s program. He is the co-founder of the L630 association with Yann Bisiou, and is very committed to the legalization of cannabis.
Philippe Poutou: for “legalization”
Philippe Poutou simply speaks in his program of “legalization of cannabis”without giving further details.
Jean Lassalle: “strictly supervised” legalization
Jean Lassalle is the latest candidate to want to legalize cannabis. In his project, he says he wants ” strictly supervise its sale and dedicate a large share of proceeds to the fight against addiction ». It denotes, firstly because the deputy for Pyrénées-Atlantiques is not on the left, rather center-right. He is above all a defender of rural communities. Like his colleagues from Creuse, he sees in cannabis an opportunity to restore neglected territories.
Nathalie Arthaud: “decriminalize to put an end to repression”
On the other side, Nathalie Arthaud is the only one to provide for decriminalization. That “would end the repression against consumers and resellers” said the Lutte Ouvrière candidate for the site VIH.org. She does not want to go any further and legalize cannabis, given the “financial challenges in this sector”especially “those who want cannabis legalized are those who want to sell it legally”.
The status quo, Macron’s will
He is the only one in his hallway. Emmanuel Macron is walking on a wire. He does not want to strengthen criminal penalties for traffickers, such as right and extreme right; nor does it want to legalize or decriminalize. For the outgoing president, what is needed is a more effective police and gendarmerie against trafficking.
Emmanuel Macron: “not in favor of the legalization of cannabis”
The program of the outgoing president does not contain a proposal around cannabis, proof of his desire not to change the law. ” I am not not in favor of the legalization of cannabis. If we legalized [les trafiquants] would move towards other forms of crime”justifies Emmanuel Macron during the presentation of his program to journalists.
The candidate does not want to change the law, but takes up the words of his Minister of the Interior on the “harassment of deal points” of cannabis. If he is re-elected, he wishes “a quarter to a third of the additional security forces dedicated to the fight against drug trafficking”.
Finally, Emmanuel Macron wants ” to augment ” the fine of 200 euros imposed on cannabis consumers. This fine could soon target “watchers and traffickers”.
Note that the outgoing president has evolved a lot on the subject. In September 2016, a few months after founding En Marche, he saw a “form of efficiency” in the legalization of cannabis.
More sanctions against traffickers, catchphrase for the right and far-right
Valérie Pécresse: “minimum sentences” for traffickers
Word “cannabis” does not appear once in her program, but the president of the Île-de-France region mentions the “traffickers” Many times.
Valérie Pécresse wishes to impose “minimum penalties”that is to say minimum, to “narcotics traffickers”, without giving more details. She also plans “to exclude” access to social housing people “convicted for trafficking”.
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan: “five years” minimum prison for traffickers
Like Valérie Pécresse, the word “cannabis” does not appear in the Debout la France project. Like Valérie Pécresse, he proposes “significantly strengthen the repressive arsenal”. For him, it is necessary to target the traffickers, by imposing a “minimum sentence of five years’ imprisonment”, while the “average” sentence for a small dealer is one to two years in prison.
Also, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan wants “systematically disqualifying dual nationals and expelling foreigners guilty of drug trafficking”.
Marine Le Pen: fine or prison term
The program of the candidate of the Rassemblement Nationale is not very clear with regard to cannabis. She also talks about it by mentioning the ” drug traffic “, but does not give more details in his presidential project. In the “security” section, Marine Le Pen evokes the end of the “reminder of the law” for the “possession of narcotics”, who is according to her a “encouragement”. For her, ” two types penalties can betaken by the delinquents and the criesminels: fines and prison closed “.
To find out more, listen to Marine Le Pen in the media. On France Bleu Vaucluse, she considers that legalization is not “obviously not the solution”, and offers ” to adapt the sentences of the dealers according to the kilos or grams of drugs they hold”.
Eric Zemmour: a “ferocious” policy… then legalization possible if it does not work
The candidate is also not very verbose on his measures related to cannabis. The plant is, here too, associated with the drug trade that Eric Zemmour wants “annihilate”. For this, the former polemicist wants to create a “fonational race bringing together police services and justice, customs and tax administration, in particular to increase seizures against trafficquant ».
Like Valérie Pécresse, he wishes “eautomatically xpulse trafficdrug quants and their families from public housing”.
But the position of the far-right candidate is not frozen in time. “We must first ferociously apply a repressive policy against drug trafficking (…) only then, if it really fails, do we have to think about what to do next”, he declared during a conference in Béziers. An originality for his political family.
A great absentee: therapeutic cannabis
It’s not for lack of looking. Our highlighter was ready to color all the words related to the “medical cannabis” or “therapeutic”even concerning “experiment” ongoing since spring 2021. Woe! We found nothing. Not a line, surprising as it may seem. Even among the two most advanced candidates for the legalization of cannabis – Mélenchon and Jadot.
None of the twelve candidates says whether the experiment, supposed to end in the spring of 2023, should continue. Nobody specifies whether he wishes to do new scientific research on the subject.
There are quite a few media statements. “Cannabis is also a means of care in a certain number of cases” for Jean-Luc Mélenchon at Konbini; “For the legalization of therapeutic cannabis” says Marine Le Pen on BFMTV; “An extremely interesting tool in the treatment of cancers and a number of diseases” according to Yannick Jadot visiting LaFleur.
Problem: these declarations are never present in black and white in the program. So what is the political value of a media position?