In a decree that was issued by the French government in December 2021, it is now illegal to buy or sell CBD flowers or leaves. While the cultivation of hemp containing less than 0.3% THC is allowed, selling all forms of cannabis in raw form is prohibited. However, a pro-cannabis group has moved the matter to court, considering that the EU, of which France is a member state, upholds CBD’s non-narcotic status. Only “active farmers” in France will be allowed to cultivate hemp containing no more than 0.3-per-cent THC for industrial use.
This is not the first time that France has attempted to block legal CBD sales. Last June, the country attempted to make a similar move which was fortunately overturned by the highest court in the land; the court of appeal. The ruling indicated that it was wrong to prohibit the sale of CBD products that have been cultivated in member states of the EU.
However, government officials have defended their action stating that CBD has psychoactive properties. According to the officials, CBD is psychoactive and presents health risks when CBD is smoked. Additionally, it would be difficult for law enforcement officers to tell the difference between CBD products containing less or more than 0.3% THC.
Pro cannabis organization MILDECA has moved to file an injunction seeking to have the decree suspended. According to Charles Morel from UPCBD, this decision by the government will create a CBD black market causing a bigger problem since the government has been unable to wipe out the recreational cannabis black market.
Currently, there are about 1,800 specialty shops that sell CBD; they may soon be facing closures and bankruptcy. An online petition to challenge the ban has so far managed to garner 25,000 signatures.