The Ministry of the Interior takes stock of its cannabis fine

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The Ministerial Statistical Service for Internal Security (SSMSI) published last March on its Interstats portal an assessment of the criminal fixed fine (AFD) mechanism relating to narcotics, which since 2020 has made it possible to immediately sanction simple use – possession or consumption on public roads – of cannabis (97% of AFD), cocaine or ecstasy a fine and a criminal record.

The report, which had so far escaped us, first recalls the eligibility conditions for an AFD narcotics:

  • to be of age
  • not be in possession of more than 50 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cocaine, 5 tablets of MDMA or 5 grams of ecstasy, weighing not being compulsory and left to the discretion of the security forces
  • not to be sick
  • have no difficulty understanding
  • not be a repeat offender
  • not having caused several simultaneous offenses
  • not be in possession of several types of narcotics
  • do not contest the offense

In all the above cases, offenders would have the right to a classic procedure (and no automatic criminal record).

Report findings

Thanks to the report, we know a little more than the previous figures communicated on the conditions for issuing the fine.

The majority (56%) of people caught in violation of the simple use of narcotics were the subject of an AFD, the rest having been the subject of a traditional procedure. Recipients of the ADF are almost exclusively men (94%) of French nationality (9 out of 10) aged between 18 and 30 (80%).

The departments that practice AFD the most are Bouches-du-Rhône where the maximum departmental rate is reached, Seine-Saint-Denis and Rhône. In addition, between the offenses recorded before (reference period: 2016 – 2019) and those after AFD (reference period: since 2021), two departments have increased by more than 100%: Oise (+135% ) and Bouches-du-Rhône (+232%).

The most delicate point of the report is however the following: “the rate of evolution of the number of persons questioned for use alone is negatively correlated to the rate of evolution on the part of minors”. As the AFD is reserved for adults, minors are forgotten by the system even though “the public health issues for this population are unanimously recognised” specifies the report.

This is also the conclusion of the document: minors who should be “the priority subject in the current fight against narcotics” are forgotten from the system in favor of “a sharp increase in the repression of drug use alone”.

Yann Bisiou, lecturer in private law and criminal sciences and specialist in drug law, severely judges the report and the device.

“AFD has eliminated the problem of minors. We have no more prevention and no more apprehension of the subject. Of course, nobody wants to put PV to minors, it’s not the idea, but there, there is no more answer. »

He continues on the very content of the report.

“There are also strong methodological biases, which have no impact on the findings of minors. These pseudo-scientific works serve to legitimize public policy. They are however very fragile documents from a scientific and methodological point of view and they become gospel words”.

For example, the 2016-2019 reference period, which is used to compare AFD’s performance before and after its establishment, is known to be low in “stupid results”, after two years of strong repression, and thus makes it possible to highlight better results for 2021.

Last “oversight” of the report which could prejudge the effectiveness of the device: the figure for the recovery of cannabis fines, which is strangely lacking, when it was presented to the Council of Ministers: 34%.

A blow from the English?

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