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French Cannabis Industry Awaits Court Decision On Status Of CBD Flowers This Week

THE French hemp and CBD industry is waiting for a court decision this week which it hopes will overturn the Government’s ban on the sale of CBD flowers – following hearings on two successive Fridays.

On Friday gone, in the Palais-Royal in the centre of Paris, France’s highest court the Council of State listened to representations from the industry, reports Newsweed.

Both the Hemp Professional Syndicate (SPC) and the Union of CBD Professionals (UPCBD) had filed requests to dismiss the Government’s December 31, order prohibiting the sale of CBD flower. 

The Council of State, led by Judge Mrs Von Coester, has the power to annul decisions of the government if it decides they are disproportionate and, or illegal.

It can also act if it determines the Government’s actions create an ‘emergency situation’. In this case; CBD stores arguing that 70% of their income is derived from the flower.

Illegal’ Government Attack

Lawyer Charles Morel, who is also President of the UPCBD, said the order posed a ‘serious and manifestly illegal attack on our fundamental freedoms, adding: “I have dozens of accounting documents which prove that the flower represents two-thirds of sales in our shops.” 

Aurélien Delecroix, of the SPC, told the court the industry’s currently valued at up to €400m with the potential to reach €1bn ‘in a mature market’.

Responding for the government MILDECA, the Ministry of Health, said French law only allows for the sale of CBD extracts, not the flower, arguing that CBD is psychoactive.

It also contends CBD flower shouldn’t be allowed as it can be smoked and that its similarity to THC flowers creates a problem of ‘public order’. 

Mr Delecroix highlighted that Belgium and Luxembourg consider CBD as a ‘smoking plant which is taxed like tobacco’.

After two hours of representations, the head judge said the Council would make its decision in the coming week.

On Friday, January 7, the French Constitutional Council responded to a priority question of constitutionality from the Association of Cannabinoid Producers (AFPC), over the nature of a narcotic substance, reports Newsweed.

What Is A Narcotic?

The AFPC argued that French law does not define precisely enough what a ‘narcotic’ is, allowing the government to include CBD in this category. 

The council determined that to be a narcotic two cumulative criteria must be met – that the substance must give rise to be the potential for ’addiction’ and can have ‘harmful effects on health’.

While this case was unrelated to the CBD flower appeal AFPC lawyer Yann Bisiou, lecturer at the University of Montpellier believes this ruling will benefit the CBD industry 

He said: “From now on we are going to argue that these criteria are not met concerning CBD.” 

He referred to the judgements in the European Court of Justice KanaVape case which said CBD is not a narcotic, and has ‘no psychotropic effect or harmful effect on human health’.

The World Health Organization also regards CBD as being safe, but the French Government, through MILDECA, take an opposite view.

In the December 31 decree it says:  “Scientific studies have shown that CBD acts in the brain on dopamine and serotonin receptors, thus making it a full-fledged psychoactive product, evoking in particular possible effects of sedation and drowsiness.”

The Constitutional Council is a court vested with powers to review of the ‘constitutionality’ of legislation. For further information on its powers click here.

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