The first round of France’s Socialist party primary has yielded a surprise victory for the country’s cannabis enthusiasts.

It comes in the form of Benoit Hamon, described by BBC News as the “French Bernie Sanders”, who has captured public interest with a series of policy proposals, including legalising cannabis.

Benoit Hamon. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Benoit Hamon. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Hamon, who is now the early favourite to become the left-wing candidate in this year’s French presidential election, has constructed his campaign around a proposal to introduce a “revenu universel”, a monthly payment for all French citizens over 18, no matter their employment status.

However, pollsters have ex-Education Minister Hamon as a complete outsider to win the presidency, should he beat his closest rival ex-PM Manuel Vallis to become the Socialist party candidate.

Forbes reports figures from France’s public health agency which estimate that 700,000 citizens consume cannabis daily. Furthermore, figures from Ipsos shed more light on the state of cannabis in France:

More than 80% of the French think that the current punitive legislation, among the most repressive on the continent, is ineffective while 52% favor some degree of legalization and want to see the issue debated during this year’s presidential campaign, according to a 2016 Ipsos poll.

Possession of cannabis remains a criminal offence in France. However, convictions may not necessarily always lead to a prison sentence.

Calum Armstrong is Staff Writer and Editor at VolteFace. Tweets @vf_calum

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