Although Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin and President Emmanuel Macron oppose it, a section of the majority is actively pushing cannabis legalisation in France. Some members of the majority are still hoping for cannabis legalisation behind closed doors, despite Macron’s controversial attitude on drugs and unwillingness to think about changes to drug laws.
Macron’s changing position on cannabis
The evolution of Emmanuel Macron’s position on cannabis shows an interesting narrative. Macron expressed support for legalisation when he ran for president in 2016. At that time he was saying that it may be efficient and is worth more study. He publicly criticised the system’s hypocrisy in his position as minister of the economy. He also promised to encourage a national discussion.
“Legalisation has a form of effectiveness; I am not against it. The subject should be considered.”
But since those earlier times, the political scene has changed significantly. According to a former minister, legalising cannabis was originally seen as a challenge to authority. Additionally, experts confirm that during his time at Bercy (the French Ministry of Economy and Finance), Macron had a more liberal outlook. Despite this change, certain groups within the majority are still dedicated to starting the promised discussion.
Can cannabis discussion evolve?
Aside from Jeunes avec Macron, Caroline Janvier is one of several supporters of legalising cannabis in the Macron camp. Ambroise Méjean, the leader of Jeunes avec Macron, promotes greater quality control and child protection. This viewpoint differs from the President’s. Another issue brought up is how the fight against illegal trafficking has long dominated the cannabis legalisation discussion in France. Deputy Caroline Janvier, who advocates moving away from only punishments, asks, “But does it work?” With strong law enforcement and high cannabis usage rates, France is in an odd position.
The French cannabis legalisation issue is taking on a new look, and it paints a complex image. President Emmanuel Macron was initially favourable to the idea, but his views have now changed to be more conservative. However, there are voices within his own majority pushing for a reevaluation of cannabis policy, emphasising the value of public health and the necessity of addressing the problems brought on by illicit drug markets.