Hopefully France Declares War on Drugs - France's hardline interior minister, Nicholas Sarkozy, has been consulting cabinet members and government officials on raising the maximum penalties for cannabis use, from the present level of a year in prison or a £5,000 fine.

This month the government made it an offense to drive under the drug's influence after a series of fatal road accidents.
The interior ministry's anti-drugs chief, Michel Bouchet, has also been asked to investigate the cultivation of cannabis after police reported that more than 40,000 plants were pulled out in raids last year, compared to 1,500 10 years ago.

In France, the pro-cannabis Collectif d'information et de recherche cannibiques, Circ, claimed that there was not a village south of the Loire valley without a plantation. In addition, hundreds of thousands of plants were grown indoors.

"The great problem is not police raids but theft," a grower from the Var said. "You'll find small fields hidden in pine forests. Once they have been located, they have to be guarded night and day. A good crop earns enough to keep you all year round, even though it is sold only to friends."

Police admit to being overwhelmed, during this month's Hemp Salon in central Paris. The event is backed by Circ's founder, Jean-Pierre Galland, who campaigns through the Green party for the legalisation of the drug. He has had to pay about £30,000 in fines for his lobbying activities in its favour.

Police visited the salon but there have been no arrests despite the sale of gadgets such as the Pollinator which can be used to make hashish. Visitors were given catalogues by Sensi Seedbank, Holland's main producer, but many amateur growers depend on cannabis seeds sold to feed racing pigeons, which, according to one advertisement, "was like putting a turbo-engine into a sparrow".

Other catalogues offered bat manure, considered as the best fertiliser for growing the seven-leaved plant.

Hopefully, with luck, the French government goes one step further and Declares War on Cannabis, we all know how that will go, the French Government declares war and six weeks later they'll be putting up white flags all over the country.

When will governments begin to respect the will of the people? When will they start to take a good look at other governments that are headed in the opposite direction entirely?

Portugal for instance, a country with one of the highest drug abuse rates in all of Europe, has completely legalized all drugs, including heroine and cocaine. Instead of putting people in jail they are putting them back to work and reconnecting them with society at large. This is also allowing them to be with their families and friends were support for their addiction can be found. Let's face it, there are no good programs that include incarceration at any level.

About the last thing we need to be doing as a society is incarcerating people for drug addiction. Especially if it involves a plant which is now clinically proven to have health and medicinal benefits. Taking Father's from their children, often at an early age, destroys the family and injures the child. In the United States the standard system is basically, Dad gets busted, goes to prison, Mom heads to the welfare office and signs up for welfare and food stamps. Child is left with no male role model, regardless of what you think about his occupation, he's still a Dad and has games of catch scheduled with his Son in the back yard that will now be cancelled.

'Many amateur growers depend on cannabis seeds sold to feed racing pigeons, which, according to one advertisement, "was like putting a turbo-engine into a sparrow".'

Now that's a funny marketing tagline.