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Duflot isolated on cannabis call

Ecology Party minister opens split in government as she calls for easing of drug laws

A CALL by Housing Minister Cécile Duflot for cannabis to be put on the same legal footing as alcohol or tobacco has opened a potential split in the new government of Jean-Marc Ayrault and President François Hollande.

Duflot, who is still leader of the Europe Écologie-Les Verts, said she was putting forward her party's position five days before the first round of the parliamentary elections - and Ayrault, when questioned by reporters, said the "government had said nothing".

However, during the presidential election campaign Hollande had refused to support a call by his security adviser, François Rebsamen, to ease laws on cannabis and other "soft drugs".

Interior Minister Manuel Valls also said he was "firmly opposed" to any easing of legislation.

Duflot - who is keeping her position at the head of the EELV until the elections - said the party's position was "very pragmatic, considered and responsible".

Former Garde des Sceaux Rachida Dati said she was "very shocked" by the proposal and called on the government to clarify its - and Duflot's - position.

Data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction showed that in 2005 5% of French adults admitted to using cannabis in the previous month - with the number rising to 13% for 15-24 year olds.
Photo: Matthieu Riegler - Wikimedia Commons

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