« […] ‘Demonisation’ of cannabis
Cannabis use has been illegal in France since 1970, punishable by one year in prison and a 3,750-euro ($4,200) fine. In practice, imprisonment is rare, although fines continue to be meted out.
For Alain, a supporter of recreational marijuana use in his 50s, the “demonisation” of cannabis has been supported by the pharmaceutical industry as “cannabis could be an affordable antidepressant”.
According to Senator Esther Benbassa, who was behind a bill proposing the state-controlled sale and use of cannabis that was shot down in April, most objections boil down to morality.
“There is still the idea that the cannabis smoker is on the wrong track. He smokes every day, it’s an addiction,” she said, calling for fresh legislation on what she sees as a “public health problem”.
A young transvestite member of militant LGBT group the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who was wearing a coloured religious outfit said smoking marijuana can be a “vital” lifeline for severely ill people.
Rejecting the cliche that only “old hippies” smoke weed, he said cannabis “is the only thing that allows some epileptic children to live”.
“You don’t make them smoke joints, but give it to them in milk, biscuits or in capsules. That way they can go to school, they don’t become vegetables like with other medications.”
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