CBD is legal in France in all its forms: CBD flowers and CBD products.

The French Council of State approves the legalization of CBD leaves and flowers, thus authorizing the sale of CBD in France in all its forms. The decision was made on Thursday, December 29, 2022, definitively annulling the order prohibiting the sale of CBD in the form of buds. All of the above, just one year after December 30, 2021, the French government put in place a ban on the sale of CBD leaves and flowers, supposedly to protect consumers and combat drug trafficking.

CBD is now legal in France, the news we were all expecting

In a landmark decision, on Thursday, December 29, 2022, the French Council of State overturned an order that had banned the sale of CBD flowers in France, and declared them safe for consumption and suitable for sale to the public.

The Council of State thus resolves the legal status of CBD in France considering that there are no established links between the consumption of CBD products and public health risks. This unprecedented decision clears the legal path for CBD in France, where CBD flowers can now be purchased legally and safely, as well as all kinds of CBD and hemp-derived products. The ruling by France’s highest court has declared that CBD products, including CBD flowers, do not pose a risk to public health and can be sold without restrictions. He adds that there are scientific studies that show that CBD has calming and anticonvulsant properties, but does not produce psychoactive effects or addiction.

Cannabis Consumption in France
Cannabis Consumption in France

CBD and the cannabis revolution in France

Cannabidiol or CBD is a substance naturally present in hemp(Cannabis sativa ) extract. L.) which has no THC and therefore lacks the psychoactive effects of marijuana. In addition, it could have various medical applications. Despite its kinship with the marijuana plant, CBD-rich hemp extract does not have narcotic properties, quite the contrary. CBD has a subtle effect, with a low side effects, which are mild.

One of the most controversial hemp-derived products has been CBD flowers.

CBD flowers have revolutionized the cannabis industry by presenting themselves as a smokable plant product, derived from cannabis, but without psychoactive effects.

At first, French industrial hemp growers viewed CBD flower with suspicion, worried that its regulation would disrupt their activities. Since then, however, the CBD industry has flourished worldwide, and industry opinion has turned 180 degrees, welcoming an innovative sector with enormous potential. Now, the whole industry is very interested in CBD flower, which is a very profitable business for them.

CBD is available in various forms: CBD flowers, CBD oils, CBD creams, CBD cosmetics… All with a THC content of less than 0.3%. According to the Professional Hemp Syndicate of France, the number of CBD stores has increased dramatically in recent years, to about 2,000 CBD stores across the country today. This boom in CBD stores reflects the growing interest in cannabidiol and hemp derivatives and their potential uses among French consumers.

Evolution of the legal status of cannabis in France

Since 2018, the French CBD industry has been on a regulatory roller coaster. However, despite the inconsistency of regulations, the long tradition of industrial hemp in France continues to go from strength to strength.

On December 30, 2021, a momentous change in policy opened the door to the legality of CBD products in France, as long as they contained less than 0.3% THC. In it, it was pointed out that CBD or cannabidiol has no psychoactive effect and does not cause addiction, so it cannot be considered a narcotic product.

This was explained in the first part of article R. 5132-86 of the Code de la Santé Publique, paving new ways towards the accessibility and benefits associated with cannabis derivatives, such as the benefits of CBD oil. However, the second part of that article put in place a ban on the sale of CBD flowers, supposedly to protect consumers and combat drug trafficking. The ban was suspended by the Council of State(Conseil d’Etat) one month later, on January 24, 2022, due to its unconstitutional nature, again restoring the sale of CBD products under the regulation of European Union laws. From then until now, CBD products could be sold in France as long as they contained less than 0.3% THC. But at the same time, the sale of CBD leaves and flowers was prohibited, even if they maintained the same legal level of THC.

Despite legal skirmishes between French authorities and companies, the sale of CBD in France is protected by European Union legislation, which lays the foundations for a single market with free movement of goods between member countries. On this basis, no member country can ban products legally produced in another European country.

CBD flower buds
CBD flower buds

For her part, the French Minister of Solidarity and Health opposed the legalization of CBD flowers on the grounds that it would be impossible for gendarme police to distinguish between CBD and marijuana budsThe Council of State responded that the presence of THC with narcotic properties is detectable by analytical tests. Therefore, the anti-drug policy would not justify maintaining the ban on the sale of cannabis flowers and leaves with a THC level lower than 0.3%.

In November 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared the ban on CBD in France illegal under the EU’s fundamental principles. Subsequently, the Court of Cassation, France’s highest judicial body, ruled in favor of European freedom of movement and declared that all CBD legally produced in member countries could be sold in France. This ruling has been instrumental in ensuring that all forms of CBD below 0.3% THC are available for legal sale and consumption throughout France today.

Regulation of recreational cannabis in France

Following the legalization of CBD, it is interesting to have a rough view on public opinion regarding cannabis and marijuana legalization in France.

On a previous occasion, we had the opportunity to interview Benjamin-Alexandre Jeanroy, one of the leaders of the cannabis movement in France, with UN experience and founder of the specialized cannabis consultancy Augur Associates. The expert explained to us that the issue of cannabis legalization in France is always controversial. Prior to his election, Macron appeared to have no known position on the legalization of recreational cannabis in France. However, during his election campaign he gradually began to express his doubts in this regard. The Macron government has shown reluctance to legalize cannabis due to its complicated relationship with police forces and its strong precedent within French culture.

In short, everything seems to indicate that, for the time being, the legalization of marijuana in France is far from being approved. They can even, if they want, arrest you for wearing a T-shirt with an apology for weed! You can watch the full interview in our post about the political situation of cannabis in France .

    The Kanavape case in France: the European Court of Justice rules

    One of the most talked-about CBD cases in Europe, and the prelude to this court ruling, was that of the company Kanavape. In 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on the legality of CBD. and its commercialization in the different European countries, declaring that this compound is not psychoactive and that member countries cannot prohibit its sale in other countries, as long as it has been obtained legally.

    It was following the case of the prosecution of the Kanavape company, which imported electronic cigarettes containing CBD produced in the Czech Republic to France for packaging in electronic cigarette cartridges. France initiated criminal proceedings against the two businessmen responsible, aged 33 and 31, because French regulations prohibited the marketing of CBD extracted from the cannabis plant, and only provided for the marketing of hemp fibers and seeds. As a result, the businessmen were sentenced to unconditional imprisonment and fined €15,000.

    The CJEU ruled on the case and declared that EU law precluded the French legislation. The CJEU ruled that CBD is not considered a narcotic drug and therefore may be subject to the provisions relating to the free movement of goods in the European Union. Therefore, the ban on the marketing of CBD constituted a measure restricting the free movement of goods and was not in conformity with EU law. Such a measure could only be justified on grounds of general interest, such as the protection of public health. The CJEU stressed that CBD has no psychotropic effects and no harmful effects on human health, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for the effects of marijuana.

    With these arguments, the Court of Justice urged the French national court to examine the available scientific data to ensure that the alleged real risk to public health was real and not based on purely hypothetical considerations.

    Ultimately, the Kanavape case laid the groundwork for the legal marketing of CBD between EU countries, as long as it is obtained from legal hemp produced in another member country. Member countries cannot prevent their commercialization based solely on their origin or source of extraction.

    You can now buy legal CBD!

    The legality of CBD in France is now a reality, including CBD flowers. With the assurance that the French judiciary recognizes CBD products as non-psychoactive substances, all consumers can access this beneficial compound without any concern.

    View the Premium Online CBD Store

    CBD is now a fully legal product in France, and can be sold in all its forms. It is now possible to buy CBD in bud form or in oil versions, which offer all the benefits without any of the psychoactive effects associated with traditional marijuana strains.

    If you are planning to go to France and you can buy CBD directly there, it is not necessary to travel with CBD. to travel with CBD .

    In Cannactiva you will find a wide variety of CBD products with exceptional properties. Fast 24/48 hours shipping all over Europe!

    Information on legal CBD in France (FAQs)

    Is CBD legal in France?

    Since December 30, 2022, it is fully legal to sell CBD in France in all its forms: CBD flowers, CBD oil and any hemp derivative with less than 0.3% THC content.

    What differentiates hemp CBD from marijuana THC?

    CBD is a type of cannabinoid, just like THC. The difference between both compounds is that they present variations in their chemical structure, being two totally different substances. They also have different effects on the organism. While THC strongly activates CB1 receptors, causing psychological effects, CBD does not produce these effects. Moreover, CBD would act as an antidote to THC, attenuating its psychoactive effects.

    What is the legal limit for THC levels in France?

    The legal THC limit in France is 0.3%.

    Does marijuana contain CBD?

    Marijuana can contain varying amounts of CBD, in addition to THC. However, those varieties with a higher CBD content are less psychoactive, because CBD acts by reducing the psychoactive effects produced by THC.

    What did the French Senate approve in November 2022?

    On November 24, 2022, the French Senate passed a Resolution proposing the legalization of CBD in all its forms (including CBD flowers), the development and support of the agro-industrial sector of industrial hemp and CBD cannabis, as well as the promotion of new regulations to favor the CBD consumer with hemp-derived products. Although it was a good start, for practical purposes it had no relevant application.

    How do you get THC-free hemp?

    Hemp without THC is a variety of cannabis. The Cannabis sativa plant presents an extraordinary genotypic and phenotypic variety within the plant world. This means that there are many types of cannabis in its morphology. Two Cannabis sativa plants can have very marked differences in height, flower shape, color, fiber, cannabinoid and terpene content. And although at first glance they may look like different plants, they are the same botanical species! Surprised? Well, you should know that there are currently hundreds of certified Cannabis sativa seed varieties in Europe. Some are more efficient for the production of fibers (for textiles and bio-construction materials), others for the production of medical cannabis, others for the extraction of CBD, others for obtaining cosmetic products with CBD, others for the use of its seeds for food use (hemp oil) … The cannabis plant is multifaceted and has many beneficial uses! It is time to free it from the stigma of marijuana.

    What are THC-free CBD flowers sold for?

    CBD flowers are presented as a legal way to smoke cannabis, without the stigmatized high effects of marijuana. CBD flowers are a unique and legal way to experience the aromatic richness of cannabis without feeling its psychoactive effects. Apart from CBD, there are many aromatic compounds in hemp, such as CBD and minor cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. All of them configure a different effect in each variety of CBD flowers.

    What are the differences between CBD and marijuana?

    CBD-producing cannabis plants have a low THC genotype, so they are not psychoactive. From a legal point of view, cannabis with a very low THC content is called hemp, although in practice, these plants have a closer resemblance to marijuana than to industrial hemp. Our cannabis expert, Dr. Daniela Vergara, wrote a very detailed article explaining the differences between hemp and marijuana, in which she commented that CBD cannabis plants could be considered as a low THC marijuana.

    Isidre Carballido
    Founder & CEO at Cannactiva | Cannabis Expert

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