Marijuana in France

Marijuana in France has come a long way France. There are documents that prove that during the Middle Ages as a result of the Arab invasion hemp was brought to new countries such as Spain, North Africa and also France. But it didn’t become so popular than yet, it was seen and used more for medical purposes than as drug as we know it today. The hype for Marijuana in France began more or less 300 years later in the 19th century. Marijuana in France was brought by french forces; returning from Egypt, where the hype for the green gold (as it is also called) was still persistent they started a new wave for the interest of hemp. So it was the time where cannabis became quiet popular among the intellectual elite of France. The consummation of cannabis was spread within those circles and also reached other social classes but still remained mainly in the elite of France. Cannabis was so in, that Gautier, Rimbaud but also Victor Hugo founded or just belonged to a group called ‚Club des Haschischins‘ (Club of the Hashish-eaters). Not only famous authors, but also scientists and artists were participating in experiences with different kind of drugs, but notably Hashish. Although Hashish was experienced and popularized by an elite, the description of its experiments remained alien for the wider mass of France just until the 1950s and the 60s. Cannabis‘ popularity began with the hippie culture in the 70s and conquered as the drug for freedom.

Enormous Cannabis market

Nowadays the market for Cannabis is spread all over the world and its products are developing in every branch. And still the European market for hashish remains one of the world’s largest and biggest markets compared to its size. In 2013 around 647 tons of cannabis herb and 641 tons of hashish were consumed and the estimated value of the retail market is about 9.3 billion. But still the extent and trends in cannabis cultivation and production are due to a lack of systematic measurements difficult to assess. As well known the Netherlands but also Spain and the Maghreb are the main distributors in Europe, for example for Scandinavia, Russia and the Baltic countries. In the European market, although the quantity of seized cannabis resin in Europe declined from 77% in 1998 to 43 % in 2014, cannabis herb from domestic production has gained popularity.

Leading country in Cannabis expieriences

France is beside the Czech Republic the first country concerning the consummation of cannabis. In 2014 almost half of the less than 17 years old have tested already cannabis and there are around 700 000 daily consumers despite the fact that Cannabis is not legal in France; the law of 31 December 1970 defines the legal frame for drugs in general. According to the law it regulates the consummation, the possession, the distribution and the production. So according to the current law situation concerning the use of drugs it is strictly forbidden to use cannabis and it will be punished; the use of cannabis can lead up to a prison sentence which is accompanied or substituted with a fee of 3750 Euro. The possession or the consummation of cannabis in private or in public (bus, station, own car, bars, etc.) is highly prohibited. Nevertheless the cannabis for medical use is prohibited as well but still experiences tolerance in the French overseas territories like for example French Polynesia. In case the producers get caught they have to pass the county court; the culture of cannabis in France is punishable until 7,5 million Euros and a prison sentence of 30 years (in case of drug dealing, which is the maximum). It is also forbidden to buy or sell the cannabis seed. The products of hemp (-0.3% de THC) are legal, but still some hemp shops are called into question because they put cannabis in a favorable light.
Beside the legal aspect there is also the economic aspect France has to deal with.

5 million regular consumers

There are more than 5 million regular consumers that are technically 7% of the population in France. So in conclusion the projection of the underground commerce is worth more than 260 million euros (if the hypothesis is 10 euros per week and regular consumers). For comparison, in Colorado the use of cannabis is legal since 2014 and there were 23 million euros over that have been spent into education thanks to the commerce of cannabis and in Colorado there are just 5.5 million habitants. It is obvious that through the legalization and commerce of cannabis, the governmental income would improve, because cannabis would consider different economic sectors like agriculture, industry but also commerce and service. In the United States it is well known that Cannabis can also be a promising business, the so-called ‚cannabusiness‘. There are already some startups using cannabis as their main product, and the green gold industry is booming and is already worth 22 billion of Dollars. It’s already one of the most dynamic markets in the USA and although of the distrust of this kind of unusual business Microsoft invested already in one of those cannabusinesses. But not only Microsoft, but also famous individuals just as the rapper Snoop dog invested 25 million Dollars into a Cannabis startup. For example there is the start-up Eaze, which aims to be the „Uber of the Marijuana in France“, and also Highthere, which is a start-up that developed an application for meeting other consumers of Marijuana in France.