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France: Council of State annuls decree banning the sale of hemp flowers



Photo: Ricardo Rocha | Cannapress

The French Council of Stateannounced today that it has annulled the decree of December 30, 2021, which prohibited the sale of hemp flowers and leaves with a THC content of less than 0,3%. The decision emphasizes that “CBD cannot be considered a narcotic”, because “it does not have psychotropic effects or cause dependence”. The advice maintains that “it has not been established that the consumption of flowers and leaves of these varieties of cannabis with low THC content entails risks to public health”, therefore considering “the general and absolute prohibition of their commercialization” to be illegal”.

In December 2021, the entire French industry linked to hemp, CBD and its commercialization was taken by surprise when the French government decided to decree that the consumption of CBD flowers derived from hemp was illegal and that they could not be marketed.

Shortly afterwards, in January 2022, and due to enormous opposition from various professionals in the sector, including farmers, the Council of State temporarily suspended the decree. Now, a year after the controversial decision, it has been definitively withdrawn from the government decree published in December 2021.

An inconsistent ban
In the decree that defined the ban on the sale of CBD flowers from hemp, the French government justified such a measure by stating that the fact that CBD flowers have the same appearance and smell as cannabis flowers with THC brought too many complications for police controls. with regard to the fight against drugs, in this case cannabis itself. The government also used the argument of the most common form of consumption of flowers, the traditional "joint", by those looking for an alternative to cannabis with THC, which remains the substance present in cannabis that makes it prohibited.

Such arguments were not enough to convince the EC. In its decision, the highest French administrative court ruled that “it has not been established that the consumption of the flowers and leaves of these cannabis varieties” whose THC content is below the legal limit of 0,3% “would entail risks for public health” . He also stated that law enforcement could easily distinguish between legal (CBD) and illegal (THC) flowers “through quick and cheap tests to identify varieties with narcotic properties”

Hemp professionals welcome EC decision
This EC decision has been long awaited by professionals in the sector. “The sale of flowers generally represents three quarters of the turnover” of the approximately two thousand specialized stores in the country”, declared Charles Morel, president of the Union of CBD Professionals, to the france info:, about two weeks ago. Today, Morel did not hide his satisfaction at the repeal of the ban.

“With this decision, an entire sector is saved. We don't understand why it was the target of a prohibitionist policy that was totally incoherent and out of touch with reality, and wanted to attack an insubstantial product. This is the consecration of the rule of law,” Morel told the USAinformations.

By taking such a decision in favor of the CBD, the French EC also dispels a legal inaccuracy that dates back to 2014, the year in which the process against a Kannavape, which at the time presented “the first electronic cigarette made from 100% legal hemp”, and which ended up winning the process in which it was the target after so much Court of Justice of the European Union, as later the Court of Cassation, decided that CBD could not be considered a narcotic product, as it had “no psychotropic or harmful effect on human health”. However, this did not stop the French government from moving forward with its decision to ban the marketing of CBD flowers in 2021. Today, it has been forced to go back on its decision.

Read the press release of the French Council of State here:



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