In an attempt to lessen the strain on their justice system, France is considering the decriminalization of all drug use.
So what does this actually mean? Misleadingly so, it does not mean that drugs are now legal in France. Two progressive French politicians have suggested several ways in which France’s penal system can be modernized. With the rumored support from president Emmanuel Macron, this report is sure to be considered with open minds.
Although the French government has come together to discuss this sensitive and emergent topic, they do not agree on which course of action to take.
One proposed solution is a mandatory fine with the threat of criminal charges if the offender does not pay the fine on time. The second solution is to completely decriminalize, and only issue fines without the possibility of prosecution.
However, when legislature is brought before parliament, it can be quite a time consuming process before any final decisions are made. Many sections of the original proposal will inevitably be amended and changed to bring peace of mind to both sides of this long-standing, global debate.
Why Decriminalize Drugs?
For those with substance abuse issues, recovery and rehabilitation while incarcerated are far less effective than the alternative forms of punishment.
With the decriminalization of drugs, a citizen can have small amounts of various drugs without being charged with a criminal offense. This means that drug use will be treated very similarly to a traffic violation with hefty fines and the possibility of court-ordered classes on drug and alcohol safety.
Whether you personally advocate for drug use or not, harm reduction alone can be a pretty convincing argument. Though abstinence is the desired goal for many, the topic of drugs is far too complex for such a finite solution.
While many in France are jumping with joy, it is very unlikely that the new laws will follow suit behind Portugal (2001), where the decriminalization of drug use was taken very seriously and has been carried out in full effect.
Though we are a long way from reaching common ground on the topic of drug use and criminal prosecution, any dialogue around the topic is a step in the right direction.
In the world of dance music, and music in general, drug use is an openly talked about topic as well as a very widely accepted lifestyle. The taboo around drugs diminishes the idea of responsible usage. Something music fans everywhere have been fighting for decades.
Tells us what you think about decriminalization and harm reduction in the comments!