What happens if you get caught with weed in Paris?
The police are not looking for users, they want the big fish
A friend of mine recently took a trip to Amsterdam. On his way back to London, he stopped in Paris so we could catch up and have a beer and a smoke. The police searched him at the train station and found a bunch of weed and hash. You can read about his experiences with the marijuana laws in Paris, France below.
He came to Paris by train. There were no issues crossing the borders between Holland, Belgium and France. The Gendarmerie didn’t search the train (although I’m told if you get the bus, like MegaBus, OuiBus or a similar cheap option, the Gendarmerie have been known to stop and search vehicles, and they can do this up to a number of kilometers on either side of the crossing between countries. In my experience, I’ve never had any issues with bringing dope from Amsterdam to Paris.). Although weed is not legal in Paris or any part of France for that matter, carrying a personal amount is only a minor offense under French drug laws and, more often than not, will confiscate the weed or similar drug.
He (my mate) tells me he was carrying 13 grams of weed, two grams of hash and a pipe with him on the train. He arrived at Gare du Nord, the north terminal and one of the main stations of Paris. The police were waiting for him when he exited the carriage to the platform.Technically this is trafficking; however, he says the police were pretty cool about it. They took his dope and let him go with a warning. A French friend tells me that it’s not uncommon for Police to lock you up for a couple of hours or a night in the precinct jail as a warning; however, more than likely, depending on the amount, you’ll get a slap on the wrist and a stern warning.
The key is to be polite. If it’s your first offense, the police have so much to do that they don’t give a shit about the tourist on the street with a personal supply of dope. Gare du Nord is not the best part of Paris; there are pickpockets, junkies and violent people in this area, the police have better things to do than arrest a foreigner for some weed. That being said, it really can depend on the arresting officer’s mood.
The police did make a copy of his passport and they did say that he was now ‘known’ to the Police at Gare du Nord. I suppose he could book a trip to one of the other major stations in town if he was keen to try it again.
Read more: How to buy weed in Paris.
From the horse’s mouth
I got him to write about what happened.
“I’d tempted fate far too many times traveling Europe over the years by carrying what is essentially a harmless yet still illegal substance from country to country. The border crossing policy is relaxed, especially so if you’ve got a European or British passport.
Half an ounce of weed in two separate glass, smell-proof tubes (which cost an arm and a leg I’ll add) and 3 grams of fine Moroccan hash stashed in a compartment in my grinder.
Read more: Where to buy hash in Paris.
I’d taken a similar amount on a bus ride traveling the same route with a friend a few years back and there were no issues then. I didn’t expect any this time either.
I slept most of the three hour train ride, and at one point as the train pulled into Gare du Nord, I thought, ‘I should probably stick this stuff down my pants, just in case.
The state of emergency had just been introduced to France following multiple terror attacks, there were more police than usual in the stations and on the streets.
As soon as the doors of the trains opened, the police came right up to me. They blurted something in French to which I could only reply: ‘No’ — It took a while to get the point across that I didn’t speak French. They patted me down and examined my passport.
Tip! The head cop told me wearing any clothing with weed or weed related images is illegal in France.”
[Editors note: As an illegal drug, representation or promotion of weed is also illegal. This includes the display of marijuana iconography on clothing.]
“The police then asked me if I had any drugs in my possession. I willingly gave up my grinder with the hash in the hope they would pass on searching my bag with the rest of my weed. When they asked me if I had anything in my bag I said, ‘I might but I don’t think so.’
They found my dope packed in the airtight tubes very quickly. I turned to Dad-cop, who appeared to be the most rational of the group and gave him a, ‘you-can’t-be-fucking-serious look’. Dad-cop then asked if I’ve ever been to France and if I knew the drug laws. He said it was an offense that carried three nights in jail. I kinda sunk after that, deflated, and let him do his thing as the prospect of a night in the pen was pretty fucked-up.
Bastille day was around the corner and it was late at night, they let me off. They figured out I was a heavy smoker and wasn’t coming to Paris to sell pot. I really don’t think they could’ve been fucked dealing with it. So I packed my bag, thanked the guy for his ‘gift’ (as he put it) and as one last cheeky parting shot, I looked at the weed and said with a serious face ‘I’m cool to take that, right?’ His face morphed and I laughed, said I was joking, winked and walked off. Not the worst experience dealing with the police I’ve had, but certainly not the result I wanted.”