Whether you’re coming to visit France or are thinking of moving here, the question, “Is weed legal in France” is one that often pops up. It’s so important to know the law before you make a costly and serious mistake. The answer to the question is no. Possession and use of cannabis in France are considered criminal offenses and the country has some of the toughest drug laws in Europe. However, in recent years, there has been a growing debate surrounding the legalization of cannabis for medical and even recreational use.
Under French law, possessing cannabis can result in a fine and using it can lead to fines in the thousands of euros and a possible one-year prison sentence. Despite these strict penalties, France is one of Europe’s largest consumers of cannabis, with an estimated 5 million regular users. According to Statista, France comes in just a hair behind the Czech Republic with 11% of the population has used cannabis in the last year.
In January 2022, the French National Assembly rejected a draft law that would have legalized the production, sale, and use of cannabis under government control. However, the issue remains a topic of discussion and public opinion polls suggest that a majority of French citizens are in favor of legalizing cannabis in some form.
Current status of weed in France
Cannabis remains illegal in France, and the government has not yet legalized recreational use. Recent developments, though, suggest that the country may be moving towards a more lenient approach to marijuana.
In 2020, the French government changed the law so that possession of cannabis now results in just a 200€ fine. However, fines for using, rather than just possessing, cannabis can run into the thousands of euros and may carry up to a one-year prison sentence.
Despite this, CBD, a non-psychoactive derivative of cannabis, has become increasingly popular in France in recent months. CBD is legal in France as long as it contains less than 0.2% THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis.
In January 2023, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council came out in favor of the decriminalization of cannabis for recreational use for adults. While this is not yet law, it suggests that the French government may be considering a more liberal approach to marijuana in the future.
It is important to note that even if France were to legalize recreational use of cannabis, it is unlikely that the country would adopt a model similar to that of Canada or Uruguay, where marijuana is fully legal. Instead, it is more likely that France would adopt a model similar to that of the Netherlands, where cannabis use is tolerated but not fully legal (just decriminalized for personal use).
Historical context of weed in France
France has a long and complicated history with cannabis. The use of cannabis in France can be traced back to the 1800s, where it was used for medicinal purposes. Cannabis was also used in France during the 1960s and 1970s as part of the counterculture movement.
In 1970, France passed the Narcotics Act, which made cannabis illegal. The law classified cannabis as a narcotic drug, making it subject to the same regulations as other illegal drugs.
The French government has been slow to change its stance on cannabis. In 2013, the French government introduced a law that made possession of small amounts of cannabis punishable by a fine rather than a prison sentence. However, the law has not led to a significant reduction in cannabis use in France.
In recent years, there has been a growing debate in France about the legalization of cannabis. Some argue that legalization would reduce the harm associated with cannabis use and generate tax revenue for the government. Others argue that legalization would send the wrong message and lead to an increase in drug use.
Legal consequences for possession and use
Possessing cannabis in France is illegal, and those caught with the substance can face legal consequences.
The importation, sale, transport, and production of cannabis and cannabinoids are also illegal in France. The unlawful transport, possession, offer, transfer, acquisition, or use of narcotic substances can result in 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to 7,500,000€ for individuals. For legal entities, the fine can be up to 37,500,000€ and various other sanctions can lead to the entity’s dissolution.
France’s drug laws are enforced strictly, and those caught with cannabis can face legal consequences, including fines and imprisonment. It is important to note that the severity of the punishment may vary depending on the amount of cannabis found in a person’s possession.
In recent years, there has been some debate about the legalization of cannabis in France. However, at present, cannabis remains illegal in the country, and those caught with the substance can face legal consequences. It is essential to be aware of the consequences of possessing and using cannabis in France to avoid any legal problems.
Is medical marijuana legal in France?
France has a strict policy on medical marijuana, called cannabis thérapeutique. While marijuana is illegal for recreational use, limited types of cannabis-derived products are permitted for only a handful of medical uses via a medical cannabis trial. You will not find medical marijuana dispensaries in France.
Definitely don’t confuse the flashing green pharmacy sign with a dispensary! They’re just regular pharmacies. Medical marijuana is not mainstream in France and doesn’t exist anywhere near the same scale as it does in the United States.
Several years ago, France launched a two-year medicinal cannabis trial for therapeutic use. The trial allowed patients with serious illnesses to use certain types of medical cannabis products. The trial was limited to 2,600 patients and was monitored by the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety.
In March 2021, the French government announced that it would allow the use of medical cannabis for certain patients. The announcement came after a report by the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety recommended the use of medical cannabis for only the following medical conditions: neuropathic pain, certain types of epilepsy, cancer pain and chemotherapy effects, certain nervous system disorders (MS), and palliative care.
That said, medical cannabis is not widely available in France and it’s highly regulated. Patients must obtain a prescription from a specialized doctor that’s only valid for 28 days and then purchase the product from a pharmacy within three days of receiving that prescription. The cost of medical cannabis is not covered by French health insurance and patients must pay out of pocket.
Medical cannabis in France is only authorized in two forms. Spray inhalation form (dried flowers) and oral form (oil, tablet containing THC and CBD). Both forms contain THC and CBD. Smoking marijuana is excluded from the trial.
Public opinion on weed in France
France has some of the strictest cannabis policies in Western Europe. However, public opinion in the country seems to be shifting towards a more lenient approach to the use of marijuana like some of its neighboring countries.
According to a widespread survey conducted in 2019, more than 50 percent of people in France were in favor of easing the country’s drug laws. In just six weeks, 253,194 people took part in an online citizen consultation launched by a group of MPs who support the legalization of cannabis. The consultation aimed to gather opinions from French citizens on the subject of cannabis legalization.
The survey results showed that the majority of French citizens believe that cannabis should be legalized for medical purposes and that the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use should be decriminalized. However, the majority of respondents did not support the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.
Despite the growing support for cannabis legalization in France, there are still some concerns about the potential negative effects of marijuana use. Some opponents of legalization argue that it could lead to an increase in drug addiction and related health problems. Others worry that it could encourage criminal activity and undermine public safety.
In conclusion, while public opinion in France seems to be shifting towards a more lenient approach to marijuana use, there is still some resistance to the idea of cannabis legalization. The debate over whether or not to legalize marijuana in France is likely to continue for some time, as both supporters and opponents of legalization continue to make their voices heard.
Comparisons to other countries
When it comes to cannabis laws, France is known for having some of the strictest regulations in the European Union. However, it is interesting to compare France’s laws to those of other countries around the world.
In countries such as Canada, Uruguay, and some states in the United States, cannabis is fully legalized for both medical and recreational use. In these places, individuals can possess and consume cannabis without fear of legal repercussions, as long as they follow certain regulations.
Other countries, such as the Netherlands and Spain, have adopted a more relaxed approach to cannabis laws. In the Netherlands, for example, cannabis is technically illegal, but it is tolerated in designated “coffee shops” where individuals can purchase and consume it for personal use. In Spain, cannabis is legal for personal use and cultivation, but it is not legal to sell or distribute it.
In some countries, such as Germany and Italy, cannabis is legal for medical use only. Patients with certain medical conditions can obtain cannabis with a prescription from a doctor.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are countries with very strict cannabis laws, similar to those in France. In Singapore, for example, possession of even small amounts of cannabis can result in a death penalty. In Japan, possession of cannabis can result in a prison sentence of up to five years.
Overall, while France’s cannabis laws are strict, they are not the most severe in the world.
Future predictions regarding cannabis in France
While France has historically been strict in its stance against drug use, there are signs that the country’s attitude towards cannabis is slowly shifting. As of now, cannabis remains illegal for recreational use in France, although medical cannabis was legalized in 2021.
There has been a growing push for cannabis legalization in France, with public opinion polls showing French people’s increasing support for the idea. In 2021, a survey conducted by Le Parisien found that 50% of mayors in Paris were in favor of legalizing cannabis, even in traditionally conservative areas.
Some experts predict that France may follow in the footsteps of other European countries and legalize cannabis for recreational use in the near future. The French government has already launched a public consultation on the issue, which could be a sign that French courts are considering the possibility of legalization.