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More than 40,000 reports, a saving of time for some police officers, but consumers for whom “it does not change anything” to their smoke: six months after its generalization, the results of the fixed fine for drug use seem rather mixed.

In the amount of 200 euros, with registration in the criminal record, this new device used everywhere in France since September 1 mainly targets cannabis smokers.

In total, 43,500 fines were drawn up on February 24, explains to AFP the Rennes prosecutor Philippe Astruc, who oversees the national center for handling offenses. While it is still too early to assess their recovery after dispute, around 40% of offenders have paid them spontaneously.

Regular consumers not discouraged

The fine supports a “penal policy (…) of empowerment of users in order to weigh negatively on demand”, welcomes the magistrate. Between September and the end of January, offenses for the use of narcotics increased by 19.5% compared to the same period a year earlier, according to calculations made by AFP using data from the Ministry of the Interior.

However, this increase in sanctions did not dissuade Marc *. Former server in the Paris region, now unemployed, he was arrested twice in September at the exit of an “oven”, a real deal supermarket at the foot of the towers of Saint-Ouen (Seine-Saint-Denis). “It hurts 400 euros, but anyway, I can not pay them”, evacuates the young man of 26, who has not settled anything and saw the slate swell to 900 euros after increase. “It does not change my drink,” says the one who continues to grill “five to eight joints a day”. However, he smokes less frequently in the street and has deserted the point of sale to obtain supplies directly from the home of a dealer.

The fine was erected as a symbol of the anti-drug war led by the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, in France, a European champion of cannabis consumption, despite one of the most repressive legislation on the continent. After six months of existence, the Bouches-du-Rhône, Seine-Saint-Denis, the North, Paris and the Rhône are the most verbalized departments, according to the Rennes prosecutor.

” Time saving “

The actors who use it are however divided on its contribution. On the justice side, the fine “does not change anything in terms of flow and workload since drug users were already subject to a simplified procedure before”, explains the Bobigny prosecutor’s office.

The police officers in the Paris region contacted by AFP, on the other hand, praise a “saving of time”, which avoids hours of proceedings for meager results. “Two hundred euros is more concrete than a reminder of the law,” said one of them. The time saved allows investigators “to be more focused on the investigation and work of dismantling” networks, said another.

“Really false good idea”

National delegate for investigation at SGP Police Unit, Yann Bastière remains circumspect. “Many already know how to get around the fine, it is enough not to have an identity document”, deplores the trade unionist. “It is a real false good idea”, slice Frédéric Lagache, general delegate of the Alliance union, pointing to “heaviness” that risk compromising its long-term use. “The guy must not be a minor, he must admit the facts, he must have papers on him. (…) It takes ages, with a real risk that the spirits will heat up. “

Above all, “there are always as many consumers on the points of deal”, he observes.

In Montpellier, Lila, who admits her “addiction”, was caught rolling a firecracker after work. “I explained to the cops that I’m trying to wean myself by mixing more and more CBD (non-psychotropic cannabis molecule, Editor’s note), but they no longer even try to understand”, sighs this 23-year-old waitress.

“The cliché of the war on drugs systematically leads to the war on drug addicts”, annoys Nathalie Latour, general delegate of the Addiction Federation, which represents several thousand health professionals. “For 50 years we have had this kind of ineffective postures,” she adds, regretting that the government “has not included the fine in a comprehensive plan that really insists on prevention”.

* The first names of users have been changed.

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