What a very French approach to cannabis legalisation

Yes, of course, we Britons do tend to tease our closest neighbours simply because they are our neighbours. But isn’t this a delightfully French approach to the question of cannabis legalisation?

A government-tasked commission has advised France to legalise cannabis to “take back control” of the black market, calling prohibition an abject “failure”.

Of course, entirely so, we agree with the basic sentiment. Of course there should be legalisation.

State-controlled cannabis stores would be the best way to control drug trafficking and “restrict access” to younger would-be users, they argued.

By their calculations, cannabis could bring up to €2.8 billion (£2.5bn) per year into state coffers and create up to 57,000 jobs.

Good points no doubt.

Part of the revenues could be channeled into “town and educational policies in sensitive urban areas”, the wrote.

Hmm, well.

The French debate appears to be about the efficiency of control, the tax revenue that might be raised, how that could be spent. All useful contributions to the discussion of course. But there seems to be no reference at all to the issue we think most important, freedom. Liberty if you like. That a consenting adult should indeed, absent third party harm, be able to do or ingest as they wish.

Which is odd really, when you think of how the triplet goes, Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. The liberty bit being one of the things we’ve rarely seen mentioned in debate across the Channel. But then as we know, political slogans usually mean their opposite.