French cannabis advocate convicted

AFP-JIJI

One of France’s leading campaigners for the decriminalization of cannabis on Thursday was given a suspended prison term and fined for possession and use of the drug.

Dominique Broc is the founder of the Cannabis Clubs Francais, a movement that encourages members to grow the herb for their own use and avoid illegal dealers.

The 44-year-old gardener said he will appeal his conviction, which came after police who visited his home in western France found 126 plants and 26 grams of cannabis.

Broc’s advocate, Philippe Baron, unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the court that his client’s conduct amounted to a legitimate act of civil disobedience.

The campaigner is due back in court May 2 over his failure to respond to a judicial order to disband his federation of cannabis social clubs, which he registered with local authorities in March.

Other branches of the movement quickly followed that lead and have been subjected to similar dissolution procedures.

Broc was given a six-month suspended sentence and a €2,000 ($2,600) fine for the cannabis-related offenses, to which the judge added two months and €500 for his refusal to provide a DNA sample.