THE French CBD The industry is celebrating after government efforts to ban the sale of CBD flowers were suspended by the nation’s highest court.
With flowers accounting for almost three quarters of sales, this should free up the French CBD industry, which believes it has the potential to exceed sales of one billion euros within a few years.
the Government ban was announced on New Year’s Eve and within 24 hours a legal challenge was launched to have the executive order thrown out.
On Friday January 14, the highest court in France – the Board of state led by Judge Ms Von Coester – listened to arguments from industry through the Union of Hemp Professionals (SPC) and the Union of CBD Professionals (UPCBD).
They asked the court to overturn the government’s decision, arguing that it created an “economic emergency”, with many of the hundreds of CBD shops saying nearly three-quarters of their income came from the sale of flowers.
Yesterday, January 24, the court ‘temporarily suspended‘ the ban, with a statement saying: “The judge in chambers of the Council of State considers that there is a serious doubt about the legality of this general and absolute prohibition measure because of its disproportionate nature.
“In fact, it does not appear, at the end of the contradictory investigation and the exchanges which took place during the public hearing, that the flowers and leaves of cannabis sativa L. whose THC content is less than 0 .3% would present a degree of harmfulness. to health justifying a total and absolute ban.
He concluded: “While waiting for the Council of State to rule definitively on the merits of the legality of the contested decree, the judge in chambers temporarily suspends the contested ban.”
Preserve the industry
While the decision is interim and based on a “disproportionate” act by the government, the court has yet to rule on the merits of the decree.
It has nevertheless been warmly welcomed by the industry, which believes that it indicates a favorable attitude of the court in the case.
Write on Twitter Yann Bisiouspecialist in drug law, and legal adviser to the UPCBD, said: “A very good decision which preserves the sector by allowing the cultivation of #cannabis light AND the marketing of flowers and derivatives of #CBD.”
He had previously recounted how the UPCBD leaders “worked on New Year’s Eve and filed his appeal with the Council of State on January 1”.
Speaking at the January 14 hearing, SPC’s Aurélien Delecroix told the court that the industry is currently valued at €400 million with the potential to reach €1 billion “in a market mature”.
MILDECA, the Ministry of Health, represented the government at this hearing, which argued that French law only allows the sale of CBD extracts, while claiming that CBD is psychoactive.
Other objections included arguments that CBD flower is often smoked and could be mistaken for THC flower, creating “public order” issues.
The latest court case for the French CBD industry echoes the KanaVape case which rumbled on for six years before being decided in favor of the industry.
This had seen the French government argue that CBD is a narcotic only for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to overturn that ruling and declare CBD not a narcotic.
This has opened the doors for French industry to import and sell products from across the European Union under the free movement of goods rules that apply to all 28 member states.
As for what happens next? With an election looming and President Macron keen to get tough on drugs, there could well be more political maneuvering, though authorities can only challenge the CJEU’s ruling if they prove CBD is unsafe. and can be considered a narcotic.
Not the end of the road
Benjamin-Alexander jeanroyfrom the Paris-based cannabis consultancy Augur Associates, said: “This result is great news for all businesses that have seen their livelihoods taken away from them by government actions. But this is by no means the end of the road.
“We will have to see how things play out, but I think the government will be looking for another baseless argument. As long as the government wants to show it’s “tough on drugs” – whatever that means – we can reject any rational, data or even legal argument, it won’t change their position. Not during an election campaign.
The December 31 flower sales ban was accompanied by two positive news, with French farmers now able to extract CBD from the whole plant and the permitted THC content dropping from 0.2% to 0.3%.
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