Europe: French Anti-Globalist Activist and Presidential Candidate Says Legalize Marijuana

Independent French presidential candidate and anti-globalization activist José Bové kicked off his campaign Monday by calling for the legalization of marijuana. The call came in his first nationally televised address as a candidate -- the first by any candidate, all 12 of whom participated in a drawing to see when they would get air time.
José Bové (courtesy Wikimedia)
"Marijuana needs to be decriminalized," Bové told viewers. "This is as much part of the daily routine today as drinking alcohol."

While Bové said "decriminalize" instead of "legalize," his reference to alcohol -- which is legal in France -- suggests he envisions a similar legal and regulated regime for marijuana. Under current French law, which does not distinguish between "soft" and "hard" drugs, drug possession is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Bove is a farmer and long-time left-leaning anti-globalization activist. He is best known for leading the unauthorized dismantling of a McDonald's restaurant in Millau in 1999 to protest hormone-treated beef. During his address to the nation, he called for the establishment of a leftist political force to challenge the sclerotic official French left and the rising right.

The leading contenders in next week's election are Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, a drug policy hard-liner; Socialist Ségolène Royal, and centrist François Bayrou. If the first round fails to produce a clear winner, a run-off will be held May 6. According to a poll released Tuesday, Sarkozy is leading with 28%, Royal has 22%, Bayrou 19%, and hard-right Jean-Marie Le Pen 14%. Bove is in the next tier of candidates, huddled with two others with a mere 2% of the vote. Nevertheless, his activist profile has generated some attention for the issue.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Legal Marijuana in France?

Viva Jose Bove !

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