Cannabidiol, also called CBD, cannot be banned in France. This is what the EU Court says, in a decision decreed this Thursday November 19, 2020. In a release, the authority confirms “A Member State may not prohibit the marketing of cannabidiol (CBD) lawfully produced in another Member State when it is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant in its entirety and not solely from its fiber and seeds”.
Furthermore, if the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) endeavors to remind the legal framework of marketing CBD, it is because the law is still unclear in France. Until then, entrepreneurs launching themselves in marketing CBD – one of the 200 substances found in cannabis – were subject to the law. In a brief released in 2018 by the government, amidst the boom of CBD, it is said that cannabidiol “is part of cannabis major active compound” and that “any operation on cannabis are banned”. Consequently, “any product including cannabidiol extracted from the cannabis plan is banned”.
But the French law has an “exemption” on the matter. “Using hemp for industrial and commercial purposes” remains allowed in some sectors (textile, automobile, cosmetic, food and plant industry) at the same level as “some varieties of cannabis or hemp free from psychotropic effects” that “can be used”. Moreover, the law says that “only the seeds and the fibers” are allowed for these purposes, only if they come from “allowed varieties of hemp” included “on a list”. A legal loophole that perfectly delighted entrepreneurs looking to benefit from the miracle plant.
Which did not prevent the French authorities to sanction as soon as they could. “Controls of some products said to include CBD showed THC” whether it is in the “plant itself” or in the “finished product”. A French law not matching the European law, according to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
With this in mind, the release of the highest European body stipulates the ban on this substance could be only “justified on one of the grounds of public interest”. Therefore, it judges “a decision to prohibit the marketing of CBD […] can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established”, the CJEU assesses. The legal body was referred to by the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal that was to judge two business owners at their first trial for marketing CBD products for electronic cigarettes, the famous “cannabidiol oil”.