FRANCE: The Council of State suspends the ban on the sale of cannabis flowers.

We have some happy news! On Monday, January 24, 2022, the Council of State suspended the government decree prohibiting the sale of CBD flowers and leaves, the non-psychotropic molecule of cannabis.

Despite the massive success of the non-psychotropic cannabis molecule, France had published a decree in the Official Journal on Friday, December 31, prohibiting the sale of flowers and raw leaves for smoking or herbal tea to consumers.

The news is a massive relief for French businesses in the CBD industry.

The highest administrative court had been seized by various actors in the sector wishing to obtain the urgent suspension of a decree issued by the government on December 30, which prohibited the sale and consumption of hemp flowers containing cannabidiol (CBD).

“The ministry tried to defend a public health argument which in any case didn’t make sense,” reacted Mr. Uzan-Sarano, counsel for the hemp union.

The Council of State stated that hemp flowers and leaves with a THC content lower than 0.30% are not harmful to health and don’t justify a general and absolute ban on their sale to consumers.

“For us, it was a thorn in the side, we were desperate, and it called into question the whole sector. The horizon is clearing, but everything remains to be done”, rejoiced Aurélien Delecroix, president of the hemp union. 

“This is a decision that demonstrates the mastery of European law, where the government wants to make a political coup,” said Xavier Pizarro, lawyer of the Union of CBD Professionals. 

The decision follows the statement of the Court Justice of the European Union.

In November 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union had already stated that the banning of CBD in France was illegal. According to the free movement of goods principle, CBD is legal in several other European countries.

The European justice considered that CBD had no harmful effect on health and could not be regarded as a narcotic, unlike its twin molecule, THC, which can be found on the black market and endowed with psychotropic effects.

The Court of Cassation, the highest court of the French judicial order, agreed with that statement and considered that any CBD legally produced in the EU could be sold in France.

France had around 400 CBD shops at the beginning of 2021. Nowadays, there are almost four times as many. The unions estimated the sector’s turnover at one billion euros, two-thirds of which comes from the sale of raw flowers.

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