Cannabis Laws in France Have Disproportionately Affected Muslims

Cannabis Laws in France Have Disproportionately Affected Muslims
High Times

In the U.S., it’s an all-too-familiar story that Black and Mexican folks have been disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs, but in France, they have a similar issue with the impact cannabis laws have on Muslims.  France, like many other countries around the world, are finally flirting with the idea of ending prohibition. They have CBD cafes now, which are gaining popularity, and the European Union is slowly starting to change the tune about how they treat cannabis. But like in many other spots, it is the marginalized folks who have been impacted the most.  New research shows that the past 50 years have been rough for Muslims when it comes to the War on Drugs. Close to one-fifth of prisoners in the French prison system currently were arrested for drug offenses, and most of them are men. It is hard to gain specific demographics in France because their “absolute equality” law makes it illegal to collect data based on race, ethnicity, or religion.  However, sociologist Farhad Khosrokhavar studies the French prison system and found that half the people incarcerated today in France are either of Muslim or Arab descent. This means that half of the 69,000 people who are incarcerated are Muslim or Arab, although those demographics only make up 9% of the 67 million people in France.  Another study from 2018 commissioned by the French National Assembly shows that when looking at the 117,420 of the arrests in 2010, 86% of them were over cannabis charges, and the amount of people arrested for cannabis use between 2000 and 2015 rose from 14,501 to 139,683. When all these studies are compared, it paints a clear picture of Muslim and Arab folks being arrested for cannabis at a disproportionate rate. Much like how America demonized cannabis by equating it…

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