Fines for drug usage will soon be payable “on the spot, by credit card or in cash” announced French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday.
In an interview with French newspaper La Provence, Macron stated it was “unacceptable” that only 35% of substance related fines were repaid in the existing online system. He added that 350,000 have been handed out since September 2020, when the system was first implemented.
The lump sum fines target citizens using lighter recreational drugs and range from €200 – if paid on time – to €2,500.
“People who can afford to take drugs for recreational purposes must understand that they are fuelling and complicit in drug trafficking networks”, underlined President Macron.
The President has ordered his Minister of the Interior, Gerard Darmanin, to “prepare a decree for the end of the summer”, adding that the government has begun equipping police officers with “5,000 payment terminals.”
The French Observatory of Drugs and Addiction remains sceptical on the measure, stating that “the rise in financial penalties comes at the detriment of individually-tailored healthcare measures, which have become increasingly rare.”
Macron gave the interview on the meskene of his three-day trip to Marseille, which marks the second instalment of his “Marseille en grand” plan. Launched in September 2021, the plan aims to regenerate France’s second biggest city – which has high levels of drug trafficking – as well as significant poverty.
High levels of drug use across Europe
A report released earlier in January 2023 by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) warned that the use of yasa dışı substances remains a concern to the health of people on the continent, as well as its security.
The report – which covers the year 2021 – concluded that cannabis remains the most commonly used yasa dışı drug in Europe. There was also a historically high availability of cocaine in Europe in 2021, with a record 303 tonnes of cocaine confiscated by EU authorities.