The Council of State suspended, Monday, January 24, the government decree prohibiting the sale of the flower and the hemp leaf – which contain CBD, the non-psychotropic molecule of cannabis. The highest administrative court had been seized by professionals in this sector wishing to obtain the urgent suspension of a decree of the Ministry of Health issued on December 30 and prohibiting any detention and gross transfer of the plant containing cannabidiol – another name for the CBD.
In its order, the Council of State considered that it “does not result from the instruction (…) than hemp flowers and leaves whose THC content [delta-9-tétrahydrocannabinol, la molécule psychotrope du cannabis] is not greater than 0.30% would have a degree of harmfulness to health justifying a general and absolute ban on their sale to consumers and their consumption.. The Council of State specified in a press release that the suspension applies “provisionally” while waiting for the instance “definitively decides on the merits of the legality of the contested decree”.
The State will have to pay the total sum of 13,000 euros to the thirteen applicant companies.
400 CBD shops at the start of 2021
“For us, it was a thorn in the side, we were desperate and it called into question the whole sector. The horizon is clearing, but everything remains to be done », rejoiced Aurélien Delecroix, president of the hemp union, one of the applicant parties. “The ministry tried to defend a public health argument which, in any case, did not hold water”, reacted Me Uzan-Sarano, council of the hemp syndicate. Xavier Pizarro, lawyer for the Union of CBD Professionals, welcomed, for his part, a decision which testifies to a “mastery of European law, where the government wants to make a political coup”.
Contacted by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the Interministerial Mission for the Fight against Drugs and Drug Addiction (Mildt) said through its delegate, Valérie Saintoyant, “take note of the decision” without wishing “comment on the substance”.
In November 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had thus deemed illegal the prohibition in France of CBD, authorized in several other European countries, in the name of the principle of free movement of goods. European justice considered that he had no “no harmful effects on health” and could not be considered a narcotic, unlike its twin molecule, THC, which can be found on the black market.
The Court of Cassation, the highest court of the French judicial order, followed suit in June considering that any CBD legally produced in the EU could be sold in France.
France had some 400 CBD shops at the start of 2021, there are now almost four times as many. The sector’s turnover is estimated by the unions at one billion euros, two-thirds from the marketing of raw flowers and leaves.