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HEALTH

Paris faces new restrictions as Covid-19 cases continue to rise

Inhabitants of Paris are facing new restrictions on daily life as Covid-19 cases in the capital and surrounding region continue to rise.

Paris faces new restrictions as Covid-19 cases continue to rise
Paris is set to introduce extra health restrictions. Photo: AFP

Although case numbers are high in Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France region, the capital has so far avoided being ordered to impose extra restrictions, unlike Marseille, Bordeaux, Lyon and Nice where local authorities were told to tighten restrictions as cases rose.

The French government is hoping to avoid another nationwide lockdown, and is instead relying on local restrictions in areas where cases are high.

The government is monitoring case numbers closely and areas of particular concern – with high numbers of cases and pressure on local hospitals – can be instructed by the government to increase controls.

LATEST: Where are France's 55 'red zones' for Covid-19?

Authorities in Lyon and Nice were instructed to do this last week, with Marseille and Bordeaux receiving the order a few days earlier. For a breakdown on local restrictions in these cities – click HERE.

French media reported that a meeting was held on Monday between Paris City Hall, the Préfecture de Police and the regional health authority of Île-de-France to discuss tougher measures, which are expected to be announced on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, France's Defence Council is meeting to discuss the pandemic and whether any extra local or national restrictions are needed.

Local authorities in Paris have already introduced local mask rules requiring face masks to be worn in all public outdoor areas of the capital and its surrounding suburbs, in addition to the national rule making masks compulsory in all indoor public spaces. Failure to comply can lead to a €135 fine.

Member comments

  1. Talk about a misleading headline! Come on guys! I’m a journalist too and you can do better than this. No info here on any new restrictions

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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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