A new parliamentary report has recommended several options for modernising France’s penal process, including the decriminalisation of all drug use, but the government has yet to decide on the matter.
Two assembly members (AM) – Eric Poulliat AM from the governing centrist party En Marche, and Robin Reda AM from the centre-right Republicans party – were commissioned by the government through the National Assembly Laws Commission to study France’s drug policies, and recommend changes that could alleviate strain on the country’s criminal justice system. Unusually, despite authoring the report together, the two AMs diverged on their recommendations for legislative reform; thus, they settled on suggesting the government choose between two options for responding to personal drug use and possession.
- AM Poulliat proposed that someone found possessing drugs must face a fixed fine of between 150 and 200 EUR (£132 – £176). If a person does not pay the fine within an allotted time, they will face criminal prosecution. This approach would also leave it to the individual police officer's discretion to decide whether to criminally prosecute someone.
- AM Reda proposed that personal drug use and possession should be legally downgraded to a non-criminal offence (“la contravention”), thereby ending the possibility of prosecution. Someone found in possession of drugs would face a fine, and the amount they would be required to pay may increase upon subsequent possession offences, but criminalisation would never be an outcome; in other words, the decriminalisation of personal drug use and possession.