Debate: Will fine for users stop drug abuse in France?

Anyone caught using drugs in a public space, from smoking cannabis to taking other drugs such as cocaine, faces fines in Rennes, Reims and Créteil

Three cities have started a trial of fining drug users €200, reduced to €150 for fast payment or rising to €450 if they delay, to fight rising use.

Anyone caught using drugs in a public space, whether smoking cannabis or taking other drugs such as cocaine, will face fines in Rennes, Reims and Créteil.

The law, voted on by MPs in November 2018, was set to apply across the cities by the start of 2020 at the latest.

A 1970 law already theoretically punishes drug use with a €3,750 fine and a year in jail but is rarely applied. The new law aims to weaken the cannabis black market, thought to be worth up to €1.4billion, by “giving more responsibility to the consumer”.

In 2017, surveys found 45% of adults had tried cannabis – one of the highest levels in Europe – compared to 13% in 1992, and 11% had used it in the last year, up from 4%.

However, some argue that it is contradictory to trial ...

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