Belgium has just announced the decriminalisation of using and being in possession of cannabis for personal use. In France this is not yet the case, but it is a subject of discussion. The young are especially interested in this question. They have several arguments. The young people whom we met were unanimously in favour of this rule. We let them have their say:

I don’t think this is a big deal, I don’t know, you would have to know how that goes exactly in Belgium as well, right, to see what changes and differences emerge by caparison… about I don’t know, possible corruption, but I think that it seems to be to be a good idea all right.

Well no, I am really not against it, that’s my take, but it does not have an effect that I like on me too much, as I have stopped drinking and that… well… there are some things like that, that… for the moment, that’s not a while, but… who knows? Maybe… No, otherwise I think that… yeah, I think that it is a good idea, I think that it would be good. It is not a what’s-it, certainly much less dangerous than alcohol and other things which are completely legal and… well, there you are. After all some things are easy to do, you see!

Well, I don’t know. Personally I don’t use it. I have never really considered the questions about this, but it is sure that it is… yes, decriminalisation, already, that would be good, right, but then… we’ll see.

Well everyone smokes already, so that doesn’t change anything, except that you would be relaxed, that depends if we are talking about legalisation, that is to say, it is sold by the state, or if we are talking of decriminalisation , just the right to have it, having some on you.

Personally, decriminalisation would be interesting in the sense of the respect of the citizen and of personal liberty, as we have the right to drink, I think that we have the right to smoke a joint. But there are a lot of people who think like that, that we can ask ourselves why it has not been like that for a long time…

Afterward for the legalisation step, personally I am not convinced that this is clearly a good step. If it becomes like tobacco, that is to say that…

Ah, but that is a very delicate subject.

Why is that?

Well, it is difficult to know what happens next, right.

No, no but personally I am just expressing my apprehension that following legalisation if that becomes a very highly taxed product like tobacco and alcohol. But, all right, probably, they must be equal, so that would be fine too, right.

No, personally I don’t think so because there are plenty of things which go around illegally, rightly, which are frightful, whilst if they were controlled the products would be much less frightful and… somewhere, we would still get into the same state too, so to avoid that, how can I put it, this overwhelming police state which would not achieve very much in the end. It is just to control people who smoke the drug. So if you legalise it, right away that avoids the situation where the cops take this as their job to do that, and they can do something else with their time.

I think that it is taking the lead on a problem of public health because, at the moment, it is true that it is controlled by a distribution network which is infected by Mafia and the products are often bad quality, so…

I am afraid that it may become something highly taxed, that it may become as expensive as tobacco… No, no, it is true that I am in favour of the total legalisation of cannabis.

It will happen, but it is a political problem. The older generation must take this on board and those who now since the seventies, although it started well before that, but since the eighties we can say that in France it really took off, that most of the young have tried it or smoke everyday.

There were several attempts that… everyone believed in it, and finally they failed several times.

But, well, we know that the subject, it is all the same there and then, there is all the same a sense of change, there is all the same a tolerance which has emerged. No one talks about it, but on the ground, there is all the same, I find, tolerance. All the same, there are too, lots of inequalities.

They have mad progress recently in Spain, Italy and in Belgium too… in Switzerland too, yes, even in Switzerland. Switzerland supplies Lyon, in the end everyone is going to look for their grass in Switzerland and that supplies Lyon.

All that is saying that finally… finally it is really hypocritical, the law in France as it relates to cannabis in general. Finally by comparison to products in general, finally the law 627 is not really viable. Really it needs to be reformed in any case, right. Soft drugs and hard drugs are mixed up a bit all right.

It is true that we still have a law that does not make a difference between cannabis and heroine, that is true in the year 2000, that’s a bit pitiable.

Ah yes, personally I think that, because right away that would stop people selling bad cannabis… Well, fine, I agree.

I don’t think that it is bad for health. I think that, as with everything, it mustn’t be abused. But I don’t think that, that is… all this story about how that feeds the neurones apparently, it’s not true, it’s not at all true, and we must, really in my opinion, we must keep a balance, smoking a joint in the evening like that to reduce your inhibitions, that’s good, you see.

I have the feeling that we are surrounded now, that we see a map with the countries which have decriminalised and then we see France which is in the middle of all that, in white and all the other countries around are in red, I find that is a bit paradoxical, right, in the context of a Europe where we can move around freely, we don’t have the right in France to use whilst now, it is truly… that France decriminalise, that all the countries prohibit, right, but that cannot work as, I don’t know, I find that that has created a paradox all right.

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