Just two days after a new law went into action that allows cannabis users to pay an on-location fine if caught in possession rather than facing a court appearance, officials from French customs seized seven tons of marijuana.
Located in the back of three vans parked in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, the seized cannabis has an estimated street value of €20 million euros (based on the price of 2,500-3,000 euros per kilo). The find came after a weeks-long investigation that led officials to a prior seizure of 320 kilos of cannabis in September and 200 kilos in early October.
Cannabis has become France’s most popular drug, with an estimated 4.6 million occasional users and 700,000 daily users, according to the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Last year alone featured an 84 percent increase in the amount of cannabis seized over the previous year.
Before the newly activated law, possession was previously punishable with up to a year in jail and a nearly 4,000 euro fine, but the sentences were seldom enforced and usually ended with lighter punishments such as community service.
President Francois Hollande personally went to the Paris suburbs customs investigations unit headquarters to commend those associated with the bust.
photo credit: telegraph