Bègles wants to be an “experimental territory” of culture, sales and consumption

“In France, this debate is particularly divisive”, agrees Clément Rossignol Puech, mayor of Bègles.

Laurent Theillet Archives/ “South West”

Make Bègles an “experimental territory for the cultivation, sale and controlled consumption” of recreational cannabis: some of your constituents may wonder if their mayor hasn’t fallen on his head…

No, and I’m not the only local elected official considering this type of position. This follows from many parliamentary reports, from the right and the left. France is the country with the most consumption in Europe, while the regulations there are the strictest: we can clearly see that it is a dysfunctional system. At the same time, there are movements to legalize cannabis in the United States, Canada and Germany. They go hand in hand with the establishment of very strong health policies and consumption decreases, especially among young people: the addiction to the forbidden no longer exists, and those with addiction problems can talk about it more freely. I promote a legal framework, I do not glorify cannabis, which is a drug, which has specific consequences on cognitive functions in the development of the youngest.

Do you think this is also a way to fight trafficking?

In addition to the issue of public health, there is public silence: it is cannabis trafficking that weakens neighborhoods.

However, last week, you co-signed an action plan in a district of Bègles, Terres-Neuves…

We have proactive actions, but overseeing cultivation and sales would be a more effective action, preventing the police from being overwhelmed by the fight against trafficking. I will add, and it is Cese who reminds us, that 45% of the French [les 15-64 ans] have tried cannabis, compared to 27% in Europe, and there are 1 million daily consumers. This is a basic fact of society, which is hidden.

What would this Beglais “experimental territory” look like? Can we imagine cannabis plants on balconies, in parks, in downtown stores?

There are several regulatory models at the international level. We need controlled crops, Cese also promotes the use of organic crops. These lands can be managed by the State, or a network of partners. In Spain, there are also cannabis social clubs, open to membership. In Canada, points of sale are prohibited for people under the age of 21, moreover, I put it up for debate, I think you must be of legal age. On balconies, still in Canada, it is for example four plants maximum.

Does the experiment have a real chance of success or is it simply a contribution to the debate?

I’ll be honest with you, it’s to tell the state that there are local elected officials ready to roll. But I hope to have the ear of the government and the president.

“At Bègles, we know how to promote the law. Remember same-sex marriage, celebrated by Noël Mamère, in 2004?

Aren’t you afraid of alienating some of your constituents?

In France, this debate is particularly divisive. Other European countries are more pragmatic, they are not in moral matters. But, at Bègles, we know how to promote the law. Remember the first homosexual wedding, celebrated by Noël Mamère, in 2004.

Are you registering on this line?

I’m not going to break down and open a coffee shop on my own, but I want to push the thought forward. We can organize debates on the topic in Bègles and invite Cese members.

On the same subject

Canada: marijuana, the triumph of a weed

Canada: marijuana, the triumph of a weed

On October 17, Canada will celebrate four years of marijuana legalization. The black market is in free fall, the state has relegated the drug lords, but the impact on public health is negative

What is the feedback of your fellow mayors?

Perhaps we will talk about it this Friday in the corridors of the Metropolitan Council. Positions are less caricatured on the microphone. All the mayors of the Bordeaux agglomeration, regardless of their side, face these problems of health and traffic at the foot of the building.

You keep insisting on the fact that the debate transcends political affiliations and is not the prerogative of the Greens…

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