Vive la France! Last week, French officials gave a green light to cannabis medicines, signing a decree lifting a longtime ban. French health minister Marisol Touraine sponsored the decree to allow medical marijuana, having previously suggested that France should allow distribution of Sativex, a synthetic THC spray marketed by GW Pharmaceuticals to treat multiple sclerosis symptoms. Sativex is available in several European Union (EU) countries, as well as in Canada.
The decree, signed by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on June 5th, will allow cannabis medications to reach French patients in need. It will permit the “production, transport, import, export, possession, supply, transfer, purchase or use” of marijuana as medicine.
However, while medical marijuana is now legal in France, recreational use still seems a distant dream. Just as in the US, federal French pot policy is still strictly one of prohibition. We’ll reserve our cries of “Vive la liberté!” for when responsible adult use of pot is no longer a crime
Princeton, NJ: More than nine out of 10 US adults say that people who possess or consume small quantities of cannabis should not face jail time, according to a May 2013 nationwide Reason Magazine-Rupe poll of 1,003 adults, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.
According to the poll, only six percent of respondents favor jailing convicted minor marijuana offenders. Thirty-two percent of those polled favor a fine-only penalty, while 20 percent of respondents prefer that offenders receive substance abuse counseling. Thirty-five percent of those surveyed favor no punishment whatsoever.
A majority of respondents, 52 percent, also said that they would support the passage of federal legislation that would “prevent the federal government from prosecuting people who grow, possess, or sell marijuana in the states that have legalized” such activities. Only 42 percent said that they would oppose such a law. A previous national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in April similarly reported that most Americans favor the federal government no longer enforcing anti-marijuana laws in states that have approved its use.
The Reason-Rupe survey possesses a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director, at (202) 483-5500.
It takes only a moment to ruin a legacy of informed tolerance. Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States, has flip-flopped. In a reversal of his decades-long support for marijuana legalization, Carter announced this week that he now opposes it. In 1977, while in the White House, Carter called for the decriminalization of possession of cannabis — and just six months ago, he stated that he supported states’ rights to allow citizens to legally buy and grow pot, accusing US drug policy of having “destroyed the lives of millions of young people.”
In December of 2012, Carter told CNN that decriminalizing drugs doesn’t necessarily mean more drug users, saying, “All drugs were decriminalized in Portugal a few years ago and the use of drugs has gone down dramatically and nobody has been put in prison.” He also spoke to Politico, saying, “I have always favored decriminalization and think we should observe what happens in Washington before going further.” And in his very own op-ed piece in the New York Times in 2011, Carter wrote about the “total failure of the present global antidrug effort — in particular America’s “War on Drugs.”
But on May 17, Carter spoke at an Atlanta, GA meeting attended by state legislators and drug policy officials. “I do not favor legalization,” he proclaimed. “We must do everything we can to discourage marijuana use, as we do now with tobacco and excessive drinking.”
Maybe Carter isn’t aware that tobacco smokers and drinkers don’t get busted and have their lives ruined. He now believes arrests for pot should result in a warning, treatment and health screening. He also predicted that new cannabis laws in Colorado and Washington would prove troublesome.
By Mary Jane Gibson · Thu May 23, 2013