Emmanuel Macron’s Left Flank Presses Him On Full Cannabis Reform

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31 senators challenged President Macron on the pages of Le Monde last week to implement full cannabis legalization – but what does this really mean for reform in France?

Cannabis usually exists, still, in the political fault lines, just about everywhere.

That is certainly true in France at the moment. Last Monday, thirty-one federal French senators published a letter in Le Monde, one of the most popular newspapers in France, calling for full legalization. Decrim, as they argued, is a cynical half step.

It is a fascinating development – and for several reasons – both about and beyond the legalization discussion specifically. On the cannabis front, it comes during the first year of France’s much delayed medical trial. It is also happening in a country which has already helped set European cannabis policy – on CBD.

Apart from this, however, the political impetus behind this declaration is absolutely a challenge to the status quo – and from a place that sitting president Emmanuel Macron cannot ignore. Namely, despite the fact that he has repeatedly said he would never implement recreational reform, this new challenge is coming from a group he needs to stave off the extreme right wing – both of whom are anti Europe and cannabis – after he lost a majority in Parliament this summer.

Despite the fact that Macron has repeatedly shown that he is a politician who can only be moved by increments, the fact that this bloc has also called for him to speed up, rather than incrementally implement the cannabis reform process says a great deal about the political climate locally, beyond just cannabis reform.

France’s Role in the European Cannabis Bloc

Right now, Germany is very publicly debating how it might implement recreational cannabis reform without violating the international treaties on drug control that, of course, also cover cannabis. The one that is most mentioned in Europe is the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is why three countries (so far) – namely Germany, Luxembourg, and Malta – have begun to meet on a multilateral basis to discuss how to proceed.

France as the bloc’s second largest economy, no doubt, should join that table. And Macron, as a committed pro EU politician, is going to have little wiggle room to completely ignore this development. This will be even more true as other countries begin to join this conversation – from Portugal and Italy to Greece and Spain beyond that.

One thing is for sure. France may not be on the leading edge of the revolution, but it is certainly joining the party – despite the wishes of its top politician.

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