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France bans sale of cannabis with high cannabidiol content but no psychotropic effects

France banned the sale of cannabidiol (CBD), a substance without psychotropic effects, on Friday, as opposed to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychotropic substance rich in other Cannabis varieties, informs AFP.

According to a government decree published in the Official Journal, “the sale to consumers of raw flowers or leaves in any form, separate or mixed with other ingredients, possession by consumers and consumption” is prohibited.

Instead, “cultivation, import, export and industrial and commercial use” of cannabis sativa varieties are permitted provided that the hemp plants have a THC content below 0.3%, compared to 0.2% in the draft decree published in July.

The European Commission has been notified of the decree amending a 1990 regulation, following a November 2020 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union. The CJEU rejected a ban on “recreational” cannabis in France, stressing that CBD is harmless and cannot be considered a narcotic or a drug, and that the free movement of goods in the European Union also applies to CBD.

However, the judicial controversy has not ended, according to AFP. Proceedings are underway to suspend the decree and an appeal to the Council of State – France’s highest administrative court – will be filed following a ruling by the Constitutional Council on January 7, said Aurelien Delecroix, president of the hemp trade union.

He expressed regret over the “total and disproportionate ban” which is not based on “any scientific evidence to prove a health problem”.

Instead, Ludovic Rachou, president of the Industrial Union for the Recovery of Hemp Extracts (UIVEC) considers the decree “excellent news for economic and industrial actors” because it will allow “the structuring of a new French chain of excellence” – that of cannabis extracts.

source:, photo source: Pexels

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