Greece launches medical cannabis, California recreational cannabis; and France?

It is first of all California ... which legalizes the Cannabis "recreational". This is not new, but the size of the American state and its influence on the world, will inevitably revive the debate in our country. It probably never stopped. It's a recurring game of politics. For Professor Benyamina, it is urgent to set up the best model, the French model!

* Professor Amine Benyamina is a department head at the Paul Brousse Hospital in Villejuif. He is president of the French federation of addictology.

Pr Amine Benyamina:

For years, the issue of cannabis has been debated, but in a sterile way. There are two phenomena that, in my opinion, lead us to think a little more optimistically. The first is the advance of science and validated knowledge. Evidence-Based Medicine. We have evidence, we have protocols, we have research, we have elements, we have imagery, genetics, clinical observation, and elements of epidemiology. The second element is what is happening in the world. France, however, has not yet decided to open the debate, as it should, as it is claimed ...

Dr. Jean-François Lemoine:

You say "we have not decided the debate yet", yet I have the impression that it has been open for a very long time ...?

AB: It is a debate that is not "officially" opened by the political authorities. We have speeches like that, but we did not say: OK, we will open the debate. In July, the Minister of the Interior, talked about a fine for cannabis, but it was not a health issue ...

JFL: To open the door to recreational cannabis is to completely decriminalize it?

AB: The distinction is extremely important. There is a story in California. Since 1996, Californians have been able to consume cannabis in a specific setting, the so-called therapeutic cannabis. So obviously, the therapeutic in the United States is not like in Europe, because there are countries in Europe ... as in France where they are galenic forms that meet the requirements of our registration agencies. In the United States, therapeutic cannabis is an order of complacency, you go there, and you come back with a small bag. Since the 1st January 2018, all cannabis is allowed, with a frame, that is to say the age, the quantity, the structures in which you can buy it, the possibility to consume ...

JFL: California is an important step, because it's still an iconic state?

AB: Yes ! 42 million people, it is practically a small France, above all and above all, prescribers of tendencies, all tendencies confused, and then it is an ability to spread its culture in the world. And then it's an open-air laboratory. That's the case to say.

JFL: Which countries have legal access to cannabis?

AB: There is one country, which is emblematic, Uruguay, which has legalized the whole industry, from manufacturing to consumption, via the distribution system, and the health around it.

Holland, is the model not to follow, the hypocritical model where you can consume cannabis, with a dose that is limited in coffee shops, but behind the counter, we do not know who makes it, nor how these coffee -shops are stocked, that's what not to do.

In Spain, there are cannabis clubs. It's a good system in which there is a file, where people sign up, they consume in one place, and then there is a real net.

JFL: The model that seems most consistent for our country is which one?

AB: This is the French model! But you have to create it. We have a country, 60 million inhabitants, a real culture, it's a cosmopolitan country. What seems important to me to say as a doctor and as a teacher, and as president of a federation, which is the French federation of addictology, is that I am not a proselyte of cannabis, because, obviously, I have public positions, but when you have a product that affects youth as much and a law that is not able to protect them and even less to crack, because it is not for that, you have to change the system.

JFL: And propose what?

AB: Propose a cannabis that is not a dangerous cannabis, because there are dangerous cannabis ... The composition, less dosed in THC, more balanced in cannabinoids ...

JFL: So a state production?

AB: That's the legalization. It's not for me to say or do it, or for the state to look at what's on offer. I am a little, compared to those who have thought about this before me. There is a commission called the UN-based Global Commission, which is made up of former heads of state, including Latin American countries ...

JFL: But why do we have to wait for the French model? Why it has not been applied elsewhere, this model?

AB: This is because the French model, the model in addictions, can not hide the environment, culture and tradition, that's it. The French model will be better because it will be adapted to France. What happens in California, is not exportable. We must create, we must invent.

JFL: All the countries where cannabis has been liberalized a bit have bitten their fingers or not?

AB: For now, not yet, because it's recent. That's what to watch. There is Portugal ... We have some interesting observations. Portugal, of course, is a country that has legalized, which has somehow framed the consumption and management of addictions. We realized that we had more people coming into the health care system, we had less traffic and we had somehow blocked the delta of production and supply.

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