Heavy Merde 

Heavy Merde 
Posted by CN Staff on July 11, 2002 at 09:56:00 PT
By Jon Henley 
Source: Guardian Unlimited UK
A couple of days before the British home secretary, David Blunkett, announced he was reclassifying cannabis as a less dangerous drug, the doorbell rang at Jerome Expuesto's home in Le Tour-de-Salvagny near Lyon. The gendarmes on his doorstep were there to escort the 29-year-old off to Saint-Paul prison, where he is now serving a three-year term for drug dealing in what many see as the latest distressing injustice in France's increasingly aggressive war on drugs. 
Jerome certainly does not fit the description of a hardened drug dealer. He is training to be a special-needs teacher and in his spare time looks after mentally handicapped children. But following a tip-off, police found 75 grammes of cannabis in his bedroom at the end of 1998. After three days in detention, Jerome admitted that, about once a month, he bought a 250-gramme chunk of cannabis resin for himself and a dozen or so friends, all adults. He made no money on the deal, as his friends and a subsequent examination of his carefully kept accounts proved. "He was our supplier because he was the most honest," one of his friends said. Sentenced to four years, including 18 months suspended, he appealed in 2000 and saw the sentence increased to three years with no remand. His request for a presidential pardon was turned down within days of President Jacques Chirac's re-election last month. "It's the toughest sentence I've seen in 10 years for this sort of offence," said his lawyer. "The problem is that the extreme common law penalties established in French law with the Medellin cartel and its equivalents in mind are now being applied to very ordinary young French people." Cannabis - rather unappetisingly known in French as shit - has always been a touchy subject here. Surveys show 31% of French adults have tried it at least once and 14% of 15-19 year-olds are regular users, and yet the former prime minister, Lionel Jospin, prompted howls of media outrage during the recent presidential election campaign when he said smoking a quiet joint was "certainly less dangerous" than having a drink or two before sitting behind the steering wheel. Jerome's father, Guy, who has fought a long campaign on his son's behalf, refuses to believe the French authorities can be so shortsighted. "Do we really have to accept that our children should be so heavily punished when almost all the experts agree that the prison sentence imposed is far more damaging than the cannabis itself?" he demanded. Sadly, Jerome and France's millions of other cannabis users can hope for little clemency from the new hardline interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy. Announcing a massive increase in police funding yesterday as part of the centre-right government's much-vaunted crackdown on crime, Mr Sarkozy insisted that drugs were the root cause of almost all France's street crime. "The words 'soft' and 'drugs' will always be incompatible," he said. "There is quite simply no such thing as a 'soft drug'. We are determined to fight against drug dealers and against drugs of whatever kind wherever, whenever and however we can." Several associations of cannabis users - including the Cannabis Information and Research Collective (CIRC), which has sent postcards to all 577 newly elected MPs pleading for a change of heart - say the new administration shows every sign of stiffening rather than relaxing France's drugs policies. "This government quite plainly prefers repression to prevention," the CIRC said in a statement. "It risks turning France's many cannabis users into scapegoats for the country's crime and insecurity problem. Ten years of work will go up in smoke if police again start pushing soft-drug users underground, where no one can reach them."Note: France's new government looks set to take the opposite line from Britain on drugs, handing down stiff penalties even for casual users of cannabis, writes Jon Henley.Special Report: Drugs in Britain:,2759,178206,00.html Source: Guardian Unlimited, The (UK)Author: Jon Henley Published: Thursday, July 11, 2002 Copyright: 2002 Guardian Newspapers LimitedContact: comment Website: Articles:Government Hits Back at Drug Adviser's Resignation Opens Up Drugs Laws The Brave in Changing Law Leaves Police with Dilemma
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Comment #4 posted by qqqq on July 13, 2002 at 22:04:27 PT
..Shame on you!!!......My Dad is French....I will admit that us "Frogs",have our quirks,,,but your rabid assault is not very well advised,,or nice!...(kiss my Citreon.)...........Gimme a break!!If you're gonna trash the French,, then why not trash the "americans",in the same way!...
,I hopefully assume that your critique of the French,is mainly political....It's not good to stereotypify people because of their heritage,,or their national politics...What is your ancestry Dankhank?........ Nowdays,,If we were to be judged as "Americans", by the rest of the world,,according to our political leaders,,then I would rather be French.
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Comment #3 posted by Dankhank on July 13, 2002 at 19:55:32 PT:
Funking Frogs ...
can kiss my rosy red Asston Martin ...The French are has-beens on the world stage, hate that fact, and delight in acting at odds with the rest of the civilized west every chance they get.Confusion to the French!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hemp N Stuff ...
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on July 11, 2002 at 15:27:49 PT
Old habits die hard?
So now the Brits are using their marijuana decrim as a chance to poke at the French ;-)But how will the French poke back?
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Comment #1 posted by Lehder on July 11, 2002 at 10:55:44 PT
cause and effect
We are determined to fight against drug dealers and against
   drugs of whatever kind wherever, whenever and however we can." Drug warriors cling to the absurd notion that drugs are a part of our culture because drug dealers 
mqake it so. They believe that if they can eliminate drug dealers then they can eliminate drugs. The truth, it's plain to see, is the opposite, that drug dealers arise because drugs are and always will be a part of human culture. The drug war opposes the natural order and that's why it's so destructive. The more energetically the warriors try to impose their falsehood on reality, the uglier and more destructive the drug war becomes. That's the way it is.
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