In Marseille, elected officials and activists demand the legalization of cannabis

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They took up the words of reggae singer Peter Tosh… but want to stay far from clichés. About twenty specialists animated Legalize It, this weekend in Marseille. A single watchword: legalize cannabis, and goodbye. With several elected officials – including some from the town hall – this gathering wants to weigh in on the public debate, a few days before the presidential election.

Marseille, a city said to be dear to President Emmanuel Macron… but destabilized by cannabis trafficking. “There are far too many dead in our city, it’s unbearable”, immediately justifies Fanny Fontan. The documentary filmmaker co-organized the event with the founder of Kanavape Sébastien Béguerie, elected environmentalists and the pro-legalization association NORML France.

In 2021, 90 people died in Marseille in killings linked to drug trafficking, according to the Judicial Police. For the organizers of Legalize Itallowing the sale of cannabis could curb this violence. Justice and the police are overwhelmed by trafficking and we are faced with a hypocritical discourse which consists in remaining in repression. We must consider the alternative, the legalization »claims the elected ecologist at the town hall of Marseille, Fabien Perez.

But this is not a miracle solution, for sociologist Khadidja Sahraoui-Chapuis. “I think we have to remain measured on the impact in working-class neighborhoods, already because there are few outlets that only sell cannabis. […] Legalization should not be a matter of sores who want their cannabis easily. We have to work with the inhabitants of these neighborhoods. »

From “motor oil” in cannabis resin

Legalizing cannabis would also be a way of regulating these products, and imposing health standards on them. “Cannabis is often cut with henna, used oil. Consumers have been considered second-class citizens for years,” criticizes Farid Ghehiouèche of Cannabis Sans Frontières.

Finally, a distribution of cannabis would also make it possible to provide employment, in a city where almost one in five inhabitants is unemployed (in 2018), twice the national average. “If we reform the legal status of the cannabis trade, it won’t be a panacea, it won’t be a revolution tomorrow, but it could start something”hopes the economist Christian Ben Lakhdar.

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