France is going backward! On Friday, the French government published a decree in the Official Journal specifying the new framework for the industrialization and marketing of CBD. CBD use will now be restricted to the “industrial production of hemp extracts” intended for food or cosmetics. 

France remains at war against the industrial and commercial use of CBD. 

Despite the massive success of the non-psychotropic cannabis molecule thanks to its relaxing properties, France 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 sale of flowers or raw leaves in all forms, alone or in a mixture with other ingredients, their possession by consumers and their consumption” is prohibited, details the text. 

In addition, “cultivation, importation, exportation and industrial and commercial use” are authorized only for “varieties of Cannabis sativa L.” 

The hemp plant must contain tetrahydrocannabinol – THC, a psychotropic molecule – which should not exceed 0.3%, against 0.2% compared to the draft decree published in July 2021. 

These varieties, in addition, must be listed in the standard catalog of types of agricultural plants or the official record of species and varieties of plants cultivated in France. Moreover, the flowers and leaves of these varieties “can only be harvested, imported or used for the industrial production of hemp extracts” specifies the decree. 

The cannabis production will be under strict supervision 

The purchase of hemp flowers and leaves produced on French territory must be subject to a written contract between the producer and the buyer.

Furthermore, hemp products “cannot be imported from countries outside the European Union or exported unless they come with documents attesting of their conformity.” Finally, the sale of seeds and the practice of cuttings are prohibited. 

A new decree notified to the European Commission 

Following the judgment made by the European Court of Justice in November, 2020, the French authorities sent the new decree to the European Commission. The document revises a text that dates back from 1990. 

In November 2020, the EU rejected the restriction by supporting that CBD was a harmless molecule and could therefore not be considered a narcotic nor a drug. The EU also argued that the free movement of goods within the EU applied to CBD. 

Despite the European regulations that allow CBD sales, the French government recently closed dozens of shops selling CBD products. 

On June 23, the Court of Cassation ruled that CBD could be sold in France if it was produced in another European country. However, the Court had not approached the marketing ban in the name of protecting public health. 

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