The mayor of Bègles, Clément Rossignol-Puech, intends to make in France “the first experimental territory for the cultivation, sale, and supervised consumption” of recreational cannabis. A discussion will take place in Girondine on June 15 to present a project to the government.
Recreational cannabis in Bègles – what is behind this idea?
Rossignol-Puech is a member of the French Green Party. As French journal Limonde reports, it all of it began with a tweet. The Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) released a report in January titled “Cannabis: getting out of the status quo, towards supervised legalisation.” The mayor of Bègles came upon this report regarding recreational cannabis. Rossignol-Puech was immediately interested in the report’s positive assessment of legalisation. He clarified:
“I had a knee-jerk reaction. I said to myself, another relevant national report that will be used to wedge a cupboard! While we mayors are confronted with the trafficking of narcotics – mainly cannabis – and it is getting worse.”
So, Clément Rossignol-Puech announced the idea to Emmanuel Macron. He proposed that his commune become the first trial site for the production, distribution, and controlled use of recreational cannabis. The tweet received major media coverage right once, and the project was started. He clarified that although he was aware of the topic, he hadn’t previously worked on the issue of local experimentation. He did, however, address it with the group, who are on the same page and convinced.
Following the tweet, he wrote a formal letter to Emmanuel Macron to formalise his request. The mayor of Bègles defended:
“The idea is not to create a media buzz, but to advance the reflection and push for experimentation because I believe it is a way to break free from the stagnation we currently face regarding cannabis legislation, use, and management in France.”
Why is that important for cannabis law in France?
Since January, the French mayor has dived into the subject. He noted for example, that the cannabis market in France can be worth between 2 and 4 billion euros. Now illicit channels control everything and have around 1 million regular consumers.
According to Rossignol-Puech, the objective of this experiment is to switch from prohibition to supervised legalisation where Germany can be an example. France has one of the most strict cannabis legislations in Europe. Currently, 80% of public funding goes for law enforcement, while only 20% goes for the prevention. Thus, this approach is not effective. That is also the state of Sandrine Rousseau, an EELV deputy from Paris.
Clément Rossignol-Puech plans to conduct the recreational cannabis experiment in Bègles with the support of a number of interested parties. This includes the Regional Health Agency, specialised medical professionals, psychologists, social workers, hemp cultivation specialists, local elected officials, legislators, the government, law enforcement, the judiciary, and consumer advocacy groups. According to the mayor, the plan is to address every area, including production, distribution, consumption, and regulation.