The French Government Is Giving 3,000 People Free Cannabis

Learn More About France’s Unconventional Legalization Experiment

The French government is taking a unique approach to moving towards cannabis legalization. In France, cannabis is almost entirely illegal. However, a new experiment from the country’s Ministry of Health and Solidarity will test the waters of legalization by giving out free cannabis to 3,000 lucky citizens.

Free cannabis sounds like an epic deal. But could it be too good to be true? Here’s what you need to know.

Cannabis Companies Will Have To Foot The Bill

As early as March 2021, the French government will begin distributing free prescriptions for medical cannabis to up to 3,000 eligible participants. The prescriptions will run for a whole year. That’s a lot of weed.

Currently, the French government is looking for cannabis companies to supply both raw and extracted products. These companies will be required to cover the costs of the products themselves as well as costs related to importing and distribution.

This will prove challenging for cannabis companies, as only few will be able to handle the cost and demand of this task – and they have until November 24 to decide if they want in.

The Experiment Has Been In The Works For Years

The first major step towards this experiment was taken in 2018. France’s primary health agency, ANSM, formed a 13-member committee to explore the idea. The team released its first recommendation in December: they called for the country to approve of medicinal cannabis. At the time, only one form of cannabis, called Marinol, had been approved, but it was rarely prescribed.

A second set of recommendations emerged the following summer. This time, the committee provided specific details of their hopes for a French cannabis market.

The experimental program was set to launch in September 2020 to coincide with the beginning of the school year. This was delayed, of course, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

France’s Road Towards Cannabis Legalization Has Been Rocky

Cannabis laws in France are pretty tight. Under French law, there is no distinction between possession and trafficking pot. Instead, the quantity of cannabis is the factor that affects the charge.

In the most basic sense, cannabis use has historically earned violators a fine of up to €3,750 (about 5,800 Canadian dollars) and up to a year in prison – these sentences are much worse if the offender is found to have endangered someone while high.

Recently though, the French government announced its intent to implement reforms as promised by President Emmanuel Marcon. In 2018, the penalty for cannabis possession was severely reduced.

Still, the country has a long way to go in terms of cannabis legalization. Hopefully, the experiment helps the French government realize how beneficial medical cannabis can be for far more than just 3,000 citizens.