New crackdown on cannabis in France, which will combat public cannabis use with a fine of € 200 that you will receive “on-the-spot” and directly on the spot.
French police will begin fining users of illicit drugs in the country, especially cannabis, directly from fines handed out on the spot starting September, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Saturday.
The $ 200 ($ 233) on-the-spot fines have been tested in several French cities in recent weeks and will now be applied nationwide, Castex said, seeming to rule out decriminalization of cannabis.
French law dating back to 1970 allows illegal drug use to be punishable by up to one year's imprisonment and a fine of up to 3.750 euros, but few users are in prison.
The French are Europe's largest consumers of cannabis and rank number three for cocaine use.
The new measure would simplify police procedures by “imposing punishment without delay”, said Castex on a visit to the southern port city of Nice, and would be an effective means of countering drug dealer outlets “increasingly overshadowing neighborhoods”.
If paid within two weeks, the fine will be reduced to 150 euros, but can rise to 450 euros unless settled within 45 days.
The move is thanks to an election campaign promise from President Emmanuel Macron, who said spot fines should be used to discourage petty crimes that often go unpunished in congested courts.
The number of 15- and 16-year-olds who have admitted recent cannabis use was higher in France than any other European country was found in a 2015 study published by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction - an EU agency.