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France takes a step forward in cannabis legalization

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The Economic, Social and Environmental Council (Cese) of France has proposed a “supervised legalization” of cannabis, in an effort to “be guided by public health objectives” and to “weaken and weaken as much as possible” the illegal drug trade, reported The Le Parisien. The proposal, which was approved by all members of the Council, would create legal companies, which would be required to obtain a license and follow mandatory training in risk prevention and reduction. The sale of cannabis would be prohibited to minors and any type of advertising or promotional distribution would be prohibited.

This recommendation is the result of a year-long study carried out by an interim commission, which concluded that almost half of adults in France have used cannabis at some point in their lives, compared to around 25% of adults in the European Union as a all. The commission also found that the current policy of fining individuals for using cannabis had been a “bitter failure” and that a new approach was needed to address the issue.

The proposal received mixed reactions from doctors, with some expressing support for the idea of ​​legalizing cannabis and others expressing their opposition. Amine Benyamina, head of the toxicology department at the Paul-Brousse hospital in Villejuif, supports the proposal and believes it is a pragmatic strategy that limits public health risks without encouraging more consumption. On the other hand, Jean-Claude Alvarez, head of the toxicology department at the Garches hospital, did not agree with the proposal and believes that more education is needed instead of legalization.

Cese's proposal is merely advisory and the government is not obliged to follow its recommendations. However, it is likely to trigger a debate within the country about the future of cannabis policy. If the government followed Cese's advice, it would be a significant change in its policy, as cannabis is currently illegal in France. This Cese recommendation is also in line with the growing global trend towards the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis, with several countries and states already legalizing the substance for medicinal or recreational use.

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