European Industrial Hemp Association
CBD products were not covered by this regulation until in 2018 when it was decided to reform the regulation. As a result, the updated Novel Food Regulation concluded that there was insufficient documentation on the use of Cannabis Sativa L. as a nutrient. The flowers and leaves of the hemp plant were also not specifically mentioned in this revised regulation.
Issue that significantly affected the CBD’s position is the so-called Kanavape case. Two French business leaders were charged for importing and marketing CBD oil intended for use in electronic cigarettes. CBD oil was produced from legal hemp plants in the Czech Republic. The oil was extracted using the entire plant biomass, which also contained the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant.
Judgment C-663/18 states that EU law, and in particular the rules on the free movement of goods between EU Member States (including Norway and Switzerland), preclude national legislation like that.
The ruling also highlighted that France had not banned synthetic CBD, which has the same properties but is not produced using the entire cannabis plant.
In recent years there has been a marked growth in the use of CBD oils, tinctures, creams and other products by people seeking to relieve stress and anxiety and to reduce inflammation. A study in the European Journal of Pain suggests that skin-applied CBD can help lower arthritic pain, but there is a lack of clinical evidence for its overall efficacy, and concern over the unregulated nature of the CBD market.
“A decision to prohibit the marketing of CBD, which indeed constitutes the most restrictive obstacle to trade in products lawfully manufactured and marketed in other [EU] member states, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established.”
The World Health Organization says CBD is “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and that there is no evidence “of any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”.
“It is fundamental to develop strict quality standards in the interests of consumers in order to avoid the circulation of dangerous products,” he said. “My goal is to improve access to the benefits of plants, in a legal and secure environment.”
Under French law, only the fibre and seeds of hemp – a variety of the cannabis plant containing less than 0.2% of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC – may be put to commercial use, not the flower.
The court ruled that the French ban on the marketing of hemp-derived CBD products contradicted EU law on the free movement of goods.
Foxseeds, the shop at the centre of the case, like most CBD shops, sold buds, which authorities argue is illegal, regardless of how much THC they contain.
It is now up to the lower court to attempt to clarify the rules on selling CBD. In the meantime, shops selling CBD tea, oils and candy have continued to proliferate in the grey area of the law.
France allows for the sale of cannabis fibres and seeds containing less than 0.2 percent of THC, the psychoactive component in the plant.
The Cour de cassation said that while the buds in the store were found to have trace amounts of THC, if they were legally produced in the European union, the owner should have been allowed to sell them.
The owner was prosecuted for selling illegal drugs and the lower appeals court agreed that his sale of buds was illegal.
But the court did not rule on whether selling CBD in France is legal or not, and sent a case involving the owner of a CBD shop back to a lower court in Grenoble for another ruling.
The Cour de cassation on Wednesday based its ruling on a decision by the European Court of Justice last year, which ruled that no national law can prohibit the sale of CBD legally produced in a member state.