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French Move Forward On CBD Cultivation

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Could hemp become as French as frogs’ legs and brie?

It may be a bit too early to break out the champagne, but things are certainly appearing to move on the hemp front in France.

According to Le Figaro, the government is coming to an end of its six month plan to reverse the ban on hemp production. This comes after last November’s decisions that CBD is not a narcotic and further that the French-specific ban on so-called “Cannabis-Lite” – namely containing less than 0.2% THC could not be upheld.

The new regulations will authorize the industrial and commercial cultivation of hemp as well as the import and export of the plant. Significantly, the French legislation stretches to all parts of the hemp plant – provided that the THC is at the European level of tolerance for the same.

However, it is not all smooth sailing. Specifically, the sale and marketing of raw flowers for use in smoking or making tea will be specifically prohibited. This is being justified on the basis of “protecting public health.”

According to authorities, raw flowers are too often smoked – and further authorizing their consumption for any purpose would make it harder for the police to determine whether cannabis they come across is legitimate (hemp) or not.

The drafting of the new order is due to be finalized soon, according to the French media, whereupon it must be sent to the European Commission. The other European States will then have a six-month comment period before the new framework becomes legal.

What Does This Mean for Cannabis France as well as CBD Europe?

Clearly, the advance of the industrial hemp industry in France is a victory. That it is coming so soon after the initiation of the country’s first comprehensive medical trial kick-off is also encouraging. 

However, the ban on raw flowers is a disturbing trend. 

Many patients (for example) use raw flower for many purposes (including home extraction of cannabinoids in either tea or oil).

In France, unlike Germany, flower is certainly being put to the test. However, it is also clear that the French are taking cues from other countries in an effort to contain the entire conversation as one of a manufacturing or medical one. 

How successful they will ultimately be, particularly given Luxembourg’s initiation of a recreational market by the end of the year remains to be seen.

One thing is clear. If France has been forced to move on CBD and medical use of cannabis, Europe is beginning to have its own watershed conversation about the plant uniformly and not just one country at a time.

Be sure to catch up on the latest moving developments in cannabis legalization when the International Cannabis Business Conference returns to Berlin this August!