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HEALTH

France reduces mail deliveries to three days a week

AS an essential service, postal deliveries are continuing while France is on lockdown, but La Poste has announced a reduction.

France reduces mail deliveries to three days a week
Photo: AFP

Faced with a long period of confinement, many people may have ordered some new books or box sets to keep themselves entertained – but are deliveries continuing in France?

READ ALSO What are the rules on lockdown in France?

La Poste

Mail deliveries are considered an essential service so will continue during the lockdown. 

However La Poste has announced it is reducing deliveries to four days a week this week and three days a week next week.

In areas where La Poste staff do deliveries of essentials such as meals or medicines for the elderly or ill, these will continue as normal.

“La Poste is asking its customers to concentrate their orders and shipments on what is strictly necessary for them,” said a spokesman.

Delivery and sorting office staff will continue to be paid a full wage as their hours are cut.

In the case of parcels and registered post that requires a signature, these will still be delivered by postal workers are taking measures to respect social distancing. Parcels will be left in your mailbox if possible. Anything that requires a signature will instead result in a text message asking is you accept delivery.

If you miss a delivery (which is less likely than usual as everyone stays at home) the parcel will be sent to a collection point in the normal way, choosing the nearest open collection point.

Not all post offices are open. Many, especially the smaller ones, are closed during the lockdownand most are closed on Saturdays. You can find out whether your local post office is open here and which parcel collection points are open here.

Courier firms

If you are ordering online it is not always La Poste that does the delivery, some companies use private courier firms.

Two of France's biggest courier firms – Mondial Relay and Relais Colis – have announced that they are closing all parcel collection points during the lockdown. Their collection points tend to be in shops, some of which have closed while staff in the essential shops that remain open are extremely busy.

The courier firms are used by, among other businesses, eBay and LeBonCoin in France.

READ ALSO France's coronavirus lockdown form – your questions answered

Amazon

Amazon is still open and still delivering, but says it is prioritising priority products and some other items may be temporarily unavailable or take longer to be delivered.

The French site doesn't list the priority products, but Amazon Italy has said that homeware, skincare or sanitary products, items for pets and items for children are among their priority items.

Some deliveries in France are also likely to be delayed after trouble at two depots. Staff at the distribution centre in Douai in northern France and at Montelimar in south east France walked out on Wednesday, claiming that the company's policies were putting their health at risk.

Unions said the retailer had indicated that it would not pay staff who did not go in to work fearing coronavirus contagion, a policy that put other employees at risk.

Unions said the company had also failed to put in place distancing measures and face masks and hand sanitiser gel were in short supply.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told France Inter radio station: “This coercion is unacceptable and we are going to make sure Amazon knows this.”

Banks

Bank branches are closed but internet bank services are continuing as normal.

Most banks are also offering appointments via telephone if you have an urgent matter you need to discuss and some services can now be done electronically such as electronic signatures for certain eligible documents.

Tabacs

These are still open as they count as essential businesses. They don't just sell tobacco products, you can also do a number of administrative functions such as paying fines and buying stamps there.


 

 

 

 

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POLITICS

‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

A group of 31 French senators of the Socialist, Green and Republican parties have come together to write a statement calling for the legalisation of marijuana in France.

'Public opinion is ready' - These French senators want to legalise marijuana

France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief. 

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