Strasbourg looks to launch legal cannabis experiment, as German laws change on 1 April

As Germany authorises the consumption and cultivation of cannabis from 1 April, the mayor of Strasbourg is calling for the introduction of a local 'experiment' to move away from France's repressive approach to marijuana.

According to Mayor Jeanne Barseghian: "In a shared catchment area, we are going to have two different sets of regulations, almost diametrically opposed, between Germany, which authorises the recreational use of cannabis, and France, which has one of the most repressive sets of laws in Europe".

"Obviously, this raises questions," she told French news agency AFP, "and it's bound to raise questions among the population", stressing the flow of people and commerce between the two countries via Strasbourg – a border town whose transport network extends across the Rhine and leads many users to travel there on a daily basis to work or do their shopping.

"The fact that a European country like Germany, which is committed to public order and public health, has decided to change its legislation clearly shows that a purely repressive policy did not seem satisfactory or effective. In my opinion, this should provide food for thought" about French policy choices in this area.

She cites figures from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, according to which 47 percent of French adults say they have already used cannabis, a higher figure than in any other EU country.

France has 5 million cannabis users, according to the French Drugs Observatory.

"It's going to be very tightly controlled, much less permissive than in the Netherlands," says Barseghian.

Read more on RFI English

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