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EU court rejects French ban on cannabis derivative CBD in France

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EU court rejects French ban on cannabis derivative CBD in France

Regarding the ban on CBD in France, the European Court of Justice has ruled that this ban on the sale of the cannabis derivative known as CBD or cannabidiol is unfounded. This is because the product has no psychotropic or mood-altering effects and has no negative health effects. Several lawsuits pending in France are likely to be halted in the wake of the European decision.

Cannabidiol or CBD came into fashion in France in 2018, with the emergence of dozens of stores specializing in cannabis derivatives not covered by narcotics legislation.

After an appeal by two men convicted by a court in Marseille for drug offenses for marketing the product Kanevape to users of electronic cigarettes, French judges realized that local law was not in line with European law. The French court of appeal has therefore lodged a judgment with the European authority.

Sébastien Béguerie and Antonin Cohen-Adad, identified in court documents as BS and CA, launched their cannabis e-cigarettes company Kanavape in 2014. To produce the first electronic cigarette with CBD in France, they imported organic hemp plants processed in the Czech Republic to France, where their startup was based.

However, the company was shut down by the French government before it even opened its doors. Despite France being the largest producer of hemp in the EU, most of which is grown for textiles and paper, France has some of the strictest EU laws against cannabis. Marijuana is banned and CBD can only be made from the seeds and fiber of the plant, not from the flowers, and must not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Béguerie and Cohen-Adad were convicted of drugs in 2018, sentenced to 18 and 15 months of suspended imprisonment respectively, and were sentenced to pay a fine of 10.000 euros ($ 12.000). The pair appealed and the French court of appeal referred the case to the Court of Justice.

Reject ban on CBD in France: No danger, no narcotic effect

The court was asked to determine whether or not a French law governing the import and marketing of CBD is in place France, legally grown in other EU countries, is contrary to the regulations guaranteeing a single European market. The European internal market, the foundation of the EU, ensures that goods, capital, labor and services can be transported without restrictions between each of the Member States. But there is an exception for narcotics.

Reject ban on CBD in France: No danger, no narcotic effect
Reject ban on CBD in France: No danger, no narcotic effect (afb)

Their product contained less than 0,2 percent of the compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gives cannabis users the narcotic high, which is still illegal at higher concentrations.

"The CBD at issue in the main proceedings does not appear to have a psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health, based on the available scientific data," wrote the panel of five judges.

The European Court ruled that France violated EU rules on the free movement of goods by refusing to sell a product derived from a plant from another Member State.

Thursday's decision confirms advice from a court counsel earlier this year. Advocate General Evgeni Tanchev wrote in May that Kanavape's products may be moved between EU countries, as CBD is not considered a narcotic.

Citing the lack of 'recognized psychoactive effects' and noting that CBD' has little or no effect on the central nervous system ', the Luxembourg court ruled that' CBD cannot be classified as a narcotic. '

The EU Supreme Court also ruled that CBD cannot be regulated as an agricultural product because it is not considered raw hemp, as it is not harvested, or that it is 'rooted or grown hemp' because the extraction process does not separate the fibers from the rest of the plant.

Sources ao Courthouse (EN), RFI (FR), The Guardian (EN), Yahoo (EN)

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