What if, tomorrow, my city legalizes cannabis? That’s pretty much the idea that crossed Clément Rossignol-Puech’s mind. When the environmentalist mayor of Bègles learns that the Economic, Social and Environmental Council recommends the government to legalize cannabis, neither one nor two, the elected Girondin grabs a computer and writes a letter to the President, Emmanuel Macron.
” Mister President, writes the mayor of this city of 30,000 inhabitants stuck to Bordeaux, I am sharing with you today my proposal to make Bègles a national experimental territory for the cultivation, sale and consumption of recreational cannabis. »
“When I pressed the ‘send’ button, I felt I had done my duty, welcomes the green city councilor to Newsweed. It was the first time that I publicly committed to the legalization of cannabis, even if it is a subject that I have known for a long time. »
“Local elected officials are in action”
For him, by offering his commune as a laboratory for legalization, he wants to show that “local elected officials are in action”. The elected Girondin imagines in Bègles “a place where we could sell cannabis in limited quantities, which would of course be reserved for Béglais, a place controlled by the State and linked to pharmacies”.
If the mayor comes up with this proposal, it is because he has the impression of being faced with a “bottomless pit”of “drain the ocean with a teaspoon”a frequent expression in the mouths of local elected officials. “In Bègles, there is a real problem of public tranquility due to cannabis trafficking. There are several places of sale near the tram stops. In the Terre-Neuve district, the traffic dates from the 1960s, while there have been several urban renewal plans since then. »
Clément Rossignol-Puech is not the first mayor to take a stand. Since 2014, the mayor of Grenoble, Eric Piolle has been repeating to anyone who will listen – including Newsweed – that we must legalize cannabis. The elected environmentalist of this city of 150,000 inhabitants insists that the mayors are “pragmatic” It front of “chin blows from Darmanin, Valls, Sarkozy who repeat that they are going to eradicate drugs when nothing changes”.
“Cannamaires” received by Olivier Véran
One would think that the mayors who ask to legalize cannabis in their municipality are all left-wing. Sweet dreamers, idealists. But we are wrong! In September 2020, between two confinements, three right-wing mayors signed a platform in the Sunday newspaper. The city councilors of Reims, Châteauroux and Charleville-Mézières – all inserted in Les Républicains (LR) – point “failure” of prohibition. They ask to authorize the plant in France.
A few days after this forum, these “cannamaires” as the newspapers quickly nicknamed them, went even further. They give interviews to the regional press and ask to test the legalization of cannabis in their municipality.
“We cannot go from an all-repressive model to legalization overnightjustifies Gil Avérous, the mayor of Châteauroux, contacted by telephone. For me, you first have to have a big meeting, like the “Assises du Cannabis”, where everyone exchanges their data. And in the process, we authorize voluntary territories to experiment with legalization. Then we see how it goes after a year or two. »
The one who is also at the head of the Villes de France association says to himself “ready to set up a file with the local agricultural sector”, if the State leaves the possibility to territories to test the legalization. But he won’t make a “slingshot” however.
The hype of these three mayors will pay off. They will be received by Olivier Véran for a breakfast at the Ministry of Health.
Cannabis included in the “special plan for Creuse”
In Creuse, elected officials have been asking the State for years to carve out a special status for the department so that it can cultivate “green gold”. And the hunting board has a hell of a trophy.
The socialist Eric Corréia, boss of the agglomeration of Grand Guéret, succeeded in having the word “cannabis” included in the Special Plan for Creuse, a government document which should help this fragile department to recover.
Page 12, “The State undertakes to examine the terms of implementation implementation of the final conclusions of the Scientific Committee on therapeutic cannabis in France ». Eric Corréia translates for Newsweed this administrative jargon: “After experimenting with therapeutic cannabis, the State may allow Creuse farmers to grow cannabis to make medicine. »
For this, the elected official (heavily) insisted that the word “cannabis” be black on white in the document. No small feat. Especially when he saw that the prefect of Creuse had “took the proposal at the fingertips”. He therefore wrote directly to the President of the Republic, so that he would not forget the “green gold” of Creuse. And he won.
In Switzerland, 300 inhabitants of Basel authorized to consume
French local elected officials will be able to draw inspiration from the Swiss neighbour. In the city of Basel, 370 volunteer residents will have free access to cannabis, provided they are medically monitored. This model could well pave the way for legalization across the country. Other cities such as Geneva or Zurich are already showing their interest.
If France wants to adopt this local model, it will need a small revolution. “Drug policy belongs to the national level, so local elected officials cannot emancipate themselves from this rulerecalls public law lecturer Renaud Colson. Moreover, local experiments in Switzerland have the agreement of the central government. »
“If we want to do it in France, the government should prepare a bill to define the contours of the experiment: to whom does it apply, in which area, etc. But it is quite possible, we did it well for the cannabis fine which was applied only in a few cities before being generalized. »
For the deputy Robin Reda, it is not tomorrow the day before that a text of this kind would arrive at the National Assembly. ” It’s political fiction, smiles the former president of the cannabis information mission. But, sometimes, the best fictions sometimes give very real results! »