Institute: France’s illegal drug trade is nearly $4B, about 0.1% of its GDP

Researchers at France’s National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) have estimated that the illegal drug trade in France is worth about $3.8 billion CAD.

The figure makes up about 0.1 per cent of the country’s GDP. However, head of INSEE’s national accounts department, Ronan Mahieux, said the numbers may underestimate the trade’s real value.

Cannabis was at the forefront of generating profits.

According to French public radio service, RFI, cannabis added an estimated €1 billion ($1.5 billion CAD) to France’s GDP, and cocaine, which contributed around €800 million.

INSEE published its findings days after President Emmanuel Macron said authorities had “lost the battle against drug dealing in many housing estates.”

He made his statement during a discussion on violence in banlieues, the low-income suburbs of France’s major cities where many migrants and ethnic minorities live.

France has some of the most repressive cannabis laws in the European Union according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

Meanwhile, TalkingDrugs reported that Around half of French people favor some form of cannabis legalization. However, 84 per cent believe that the current approach is ineffective at “limiting the trafficking and consumption of cannabis.”