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LES INROCKUPTIBLES (France)

PARIS - French marijuana activists are stepping up their fight to legalize the drug, opening several "Cannabis Social Clubs' across the country.

Known as a CSC, they are cooperatives of regular marijuana users who grow the plant for their own consumption, explains French magazine Les Inrockuptibles. The goal is to be able to get the drug without supporting drug trafficking. Plants are cultivated in gardens, on balconies or even in members' closets. These not-for-profit organizations advocate a "controlled self-production" and are hoping to able to supply cannabis for "therapeutic" purposes as well.

The weed will be free and split equally among all members in exchange for a yearly 25-euro membership fee. These clubs first appeared in Spain and are already spreading to Belgium, countries where marijuana possession, consumption and production for personal use aren't criminal offences. In France, there are bans against presenting the drug in "a positive light," as well as its production, possession and even consumption.

"Those who take this personal risk will no longer have to face authorities on their own," Dominique Broc, a marijuana activist and one of the leaders of the French CSC project, told Inrockuptibles. According to Broc about 150 clubs are already active or about to start producing and he is hoping the movement will spread across France. "The best thing to do with cannabis is not to take it, but the worst thing is to ban it," he adds. Though France has one of the toughest legislations on marijuana in Europe, it is also the country where teenagers smoke it the most.

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Geopolitics

Putin Psychology 101: The World Tries To Get Inside Russian Leader’s Head

Experts in geopolitics and the workings of world leaders have accelerated a two-decade long quest to understand the motivations of the enigmatic man in the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin during the president's annual press conference in Russia

Kremlin.ru
Anna Akage

PARISVladimir Putin’s origin story, fed by Russian propaganda into the Western media, centers around his rise to lead Russia after a strategic KGB posting in the closing years of the Cold War. Understanding his current geopolitical ambitions would thus require that we imagine the mindset of a Soviet spymaster ready to manipulate world politics for the past two decades as he attempts to build a new Russian empire.

But what if Putin was nothing more than a desk clerk in his late 1980s posting in the eastern German city of Dresden? If the young functionary was simply a convenient tool plucked by the circle of oligarchs formed around then Russian president Boris Yeltsin to secure their own status? That indeed is the reading from influential Russian blogger and political analyst Maxim Katz, who last year exposed recently declassified documents that Putin was a minor player who went by the codename of “Moth” — not a bear or tiger, or even a hamster!

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