Vive la Weed! Demonstrations this past week have sparked-up debate for legalization of pot in Paris. Hundreds of Parisians and marijuana activists, led by the Global Marijuana March, took the streets in a colorful display of pot pride, marching to the French capital from the Place de la Republique to Bastille. They want legalization of recreational use and they want it now.
If you have followed the marijuana efforts around the globe, many places are simply calling for basic access to those who suffer debilitating illnesses. The medical communities have joined them in their call for the government to look at growing scientific support for cannabis. The research and legwork has been around for years, now it is time to give society a better choice in medical treatments.
Cancer patients, the elderly, and some parents have to hide their usage, buy from black markets, risk criminal prosecution and otherwise put up with the demonization of the one thing that can provide relief to their ailments.
Marijuana has been illegal in France since 1970. All efforts since then have been squashed to lift the prohibition, including one last month, with no real change in arguments against the sale and use of marijuana. It all comes down to old, antiquated ideas of those who are in power, whose opinions trump the public’s support for legalization.
When it comes to marijuana, the romantic city of lights is remarkably authoritarian on this issue. You even hear the same anti-science arguments like “gateway drug.” This outdated propaganda no longer rings true to many French, just like it doesn’t here in the U.S. Not that pot is that hard to get, but people need a safe and reliable way to obtain it. Until the people get what they want, they will continue to occupy spaces and make those in office hear their voices.
Photo courtesy of Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP