France Gives Out Free Medicinal Marijuana

France is introducing a Medical Marijuana trial that gives patients access to free weed.

France, home to the city of love and an affinity for the avante garde, is relatively behind in their views on cannabis. France banned medical cannabis in 1953, and stifled the cannabis industry opportunities in the worlds 7th largest economy. French cannabis use dates back to Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign of 1798, when soldiers ran dry of alcohol so turned to marijuana instead. Though banned, the French soldiers brought the plant home and it grew in popularity throughout the country.

According to Alex Ledsom from Forbes, Cannabis attitudes are shifting; the French "political stance seems to have softened so too does the cultural and economic". Ledsom predicts that it is likely the drug will become legal not only for medical use, but recreational consumption in the near future. However, according to Cannabis Med, France currently has some of the harshest marijuana laws in Europe, imposing hefty fines and prison sentences for merely possessing cannabis. Despite this, France reports some of the highest consumption rates of cannabis on the continent.

What's changed with cannabis in France right now?

A Medical Marijuana Trial has been backed by the French Senate since 2019, but due to the COVID-19 epidemic, delays had to be implemented to the trial start date. March 2021 is now set for medical marijuana prescriptions to begin rolling out to 3,000 patients who suffer from conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

France is now officially committed to access to medical cannabis.Nicolas Authier

Limited in time, the trial has a two year expiration date starting from first prescription or March 31, 2021, whichever comes first. Far from Isreal, where according to HappyMag, "baggies of weed are raining from the sky", the French trial will have stringent regulations set by The French Ministry of Health and Solidarity and the French Health Association. University Professer Nicolas Authier predicts that due to France's strict cannabis laws, the marijuana suppliers for the trial "will probably be foreign … in collaboration with pharmaceutical laboratories established in France and licensed for narcotics."

The trial is to be administered to patients through volunteer doctors and dispensed by pharmacies who have elected to participate in the trial. Though Frenchman are not set to being smoking joints – cannabis will be prescribed through oil capsules, infusions, and other orally admitted drops.

Ultimately, France is set to find out, like many other countries in the world, the medical benefits of marijuana. Legalization of medical marijuana in France is looking hopeful for 2021.

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Mikayla Chadwick
Mikayla Chadwick

Mikayla Chadwick is a Melbourne-based writer, focused on human and legal rights, global affairs and popular culture. Mikayla holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and is currently completing a research degree in sex work policy reform.

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