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Row as minister calls for cannabis ban to end

Published: 06 Jun 2012 10:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Jun 2012 09:55 GMT+02:00

Housing minister Cecile Duflot says she wants to decriminalise cannabis in France - a move that has angered her ministerial colleagues.

"Cannabis is like alcohol, tabacco, we need to have similar public health and prevention policies that target young people," Duflot said during a joint interview with radio RMC and TV channel BFMTV. Duflot says she wanted to decriminalise cannabis "to reduce trafficking and related violence".

Duflot’s colleagues gave her statement a cool reception. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault insists the government "hadn’t said anything on this topic."

The French press are reporting that Interior Minister Manuel Valls is opposed to decriminalising cannabis. 

Duflot is also the leader of the French green party Europe Ecologie-Les Verts and admits she disagrees with the current government.  

Duflot argued that decriminalising cannabis in France would reduce drug consumption. "I’m not trying to encourage people to smoke," says Duflot, "but it’s undeniable that French youths smoke more cannabis than Dutch youths because we don’t have effective health policies to deter smoking."

Clea Caulcutt (news.france@thelocal.com)

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