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HEALTH

Reader question: In lockdown areas of France, when can I walk my dog and how far can I go?

As any dog owner will tell you, walkies do not stop for a little thing like a year-long health crisis, so here are the rules on walking the dog if you live in one of the 16 areas of France now under 'lockdown light'.

Reader question: In lockdown areas of France, when can I walk my dog and how far can I go?
Fortunately you don't need a form for each dog. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP

Question: I live in Paris and I’m confused about the rules on dog walking – can I walk the dog at all after 7pm? And do I need a form if I’m going out during the day?

Under the more relaxed lockdown rules now in place in these 16 départements of France there are indeed new rules on dog walking, but it depends on what time of day you are going out.

6am-7pm

During the day people are allowed out of their homes for exercise – including dog-walking – for an unlimited amount of time, so you and your furry friend can head out to the park for a good long walk.

However, you must stay within 10km of home.

If you are out for any of the permitted reasons – shopping, exercise, going to an medical appointment etc – you won’t need an attestation permission form as long as you are within 10km of home. You should however have ID and something to prove your address (eg a utility bill) with you in case of a police check.

7pm – 6am

In the evening, however, the rules are different as the curfew is still in place the rules here are stricter on leaving the home. Essentially you are only allowed to leave home for one of a short list of essential reasons.

A dog-walk does count as an essential reason, but you must stay within 1km of home.

An attestation is needed if you are walking the dog after 7pm.

So in short, your pet can get a nice long run out during the day and then a quick leg-stretch and final pee in the evening. 

We try to help our members out with all aspects of living in France, so if you have a question on any topic, email us us [email protected]

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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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