The number of daily cannabis consumers has never been so high in France, despite the illegality of cannabis, even for medical use, according to a survey of the French Observatory of Drugs and Substance Addiction (OFDT).
The study queried 20,000 French people between ages 18 and 64 on their cannabis consumption habits. If occasional use has not evolved since the last study in 2014, daily consumption has risen from 1.7 percent of adults in 2014 to 2.2 percent, or equivalent to 800,000 people.
Today, almost one in two French residents — 44.8 percent — has tried cannabis once in their lives. That's significantly up from 12.7 percent in 1992 and 23.6 percent in 2000.
The OFTD found that French cannabis consumers are trending older. Individuals 25 and older who say they consume cannabis regularly have tripled since 2000, at 6.3 percent for adults 26 to 34 years old, and 3.3 percent for the 35-44 age range. Before 2000, the consumption was mainly by younger people, but now the use “persists after the entrance in the professional life,” as reported by the OFTD.
And youths 17 and younger experiment less often with cannabis, falling below the 40 percent threshold, the first time this was seen since 2000. In comparison, in 2014, 47.8 percent said they experimented, according to OFDT figures. Still, more than one in four young adults between 18 and 25 years old — 26.9 percent — said they used cannabis during the last year at the same level than in 2000, but down from 28 percent in 2014. In 1992, the same age group's experimentation level was around 14 percent.
The second one is that consumers 35 and older cultivate more than the others: 10 percent compared with 7 percent for the general population, even if the black market continues to be the preferred supplier for two-thirds of users.
The French government recently decided to impose a 200 euro fine (about $229 U.S.) for users caught with possession or use of cannabis but leaving the 1-year jail sentence in place.