Public Views on Criminalization of Drugs

"In polls before 1999, the majority view which appeared to be defined is that prosecutions and legal penalties should be imposed on consumers of heroin and of cocaine (85% in favour), of cannabis (70%) or of alcohol (approx. 50%). However, polling of such opinions is very sensitive to the way in which questions are put: three quarters of interviewees in this way, were not in favour of the idea that drug addicts should be punished. Likewise, if the person and his individual freedom are emphasised rather than the legal aspects of the question of utilisation, then one third of interviewees, as in 1999, will be induced to express their consent for the proposal according to which the prohibition of smoking cannabis is an infringement of the right for free utilisation of one's own body."


Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 18.