Cannabis during the health crisis
It is now almost two years since COVID-19, which has had a global impact, has forced people to live confined, deprived of activities and freedom. At the same time, the legalization of cannabis is becoming a real issue in France. But what are the correlations between restriction and consumption?
Border controls and closures obviously do not go hand in hand with the importation and trafficking of cannabis. The European champion of consumption of the plant is, therefore «punished» by the measures put in place. Traffickers must innovate and find new solutions to supply themselves during a period of confinement.
Regular users may have noticed a real increase in cannabis prices, which doubled. Most of the dealers who supplied themselves in Belgium or the Netherlands had to stop their movements because of the containment measures imposed to limit as much as possible the spread of the virus. This also posed a certain risk to them as car control became more and more recurrent. As a result, the sellers were obliged to continue their business by relying on their stocks. A decrease in imports, therefore, resulted in an increase in prices. In Marseille, for example, the 100 grams of cannabis went from 280 to 500 euros in one week.
In addition, the market is starting to become increasingly scarce in prison where 20 grams can sell for 500 euros. In the prison environment, cannabis use is close to 35%. The coronavirus caused the visiting rooms to be suspended, which led to several mutinies. Difficulties in obtaining drugs have had an impact on the onset of violence.
Cannabis is by far the most widely used illicit product in France. The drug may also originate in Morocco through Spain. The two countries having closed their maritime and land borders when the coronavirus and its consequences intensified, the movement of goods had become difficult, if not impossible.
In the field, drug dealers had to be very creative to keep the business going. They could therefore give their customers an appointment in tobacconists or supermarkets, the only shops still open. The concept of «joggers» or «bike delivery» was also developed out of concern for caution and discretion.
However, the disruptions caused by the crisis have become a source of tension in difficult neighborhoods. Indeed the shortage has set aside all the «small traffickers» is impacting economically 200,000 people working for these networks.
Despite all the restrictions put in place, consumers did not have any difficulty obtaining their drug even though a slight decrease in sales was noted: 67% of cannabis users bought it during confinement compared to 78% in ordinary time"