For European justice, CBD is not a “narcotic” and cannot be banned in France

In the heated legal battle that has been playing out for years around “CBD” (cannabidiol), a molecule present in hemp, the judgment just taken by European justice should be a milestone. “A historic decision”, “A paradigm shift”, “A phenomenal scope”… Reacted the lawyers and defenders of this substance consumed for its relaxing effect, but the legality of which is regularly the subject of controversy in France, with a marketing framework with vague outlines.

In its judgment made public on November 19, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) considers the ban on the marketing of CBD in France to be illegal. “A member state cannot prohibit the marketing of cannabidiol legally produced in another member state”, she wrote in a statement. And this, even if this CBD “Is extracted from the cannabis sativa plant in its entirety and not from its fibers and seeds alone”.

No psychotropic effects

The nuance is important, since it de facto rules out the regulations applied by the French state: according to a circular issued in 2018, only the fibers and seeds of the hemp plant (or cannabis sativa) can make the object of use – most of the CBD is found elsewhere, in the flower of the plant.

CBD is one of hundreds of cannabinoids found in cannabis, but unlike the plant’s best-known active ingredient, “THC” with its euphoric effects, it has no psychotropic effects.

The decision of the European court was long awaited: it was seized in 2018 by the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), which questioned the compatibility of French rights. and European, after being called upon to rule in the “Kanavape” case, named after a CBD electronic cigarette launched in 2014. The two Marseille designers of the company, since closed, Antonin Cohen and Sébastien Béguerie, had were sentenced, at first instance before the Marseille Criminal Court, to fifteen months and eighteen months suspended prison sentence and a fine of 10,000 euros. The CBD they were selling was produced in the Czech Republic, from legally grown hemp plants and used in their entirety, leaves and flowers included, before being imported to France and packaged in electronic cigarette cartridges.

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