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How Long Will The Cannabis Fight Take In France?

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The left-wing France Unbowed party is taking the fight to a still resistant government as recent polls show public opinion shifting towards cannabis legalization

Last week, French legislators discussed a bill to legalize cannabis. Put forward by the France Unbowed party or LFI, it is widely seen to be a legislative attempt to put the conversation in the national air rather than pass anything even though there was clear support for reform from five parliamentary groups including even the ruling party (LREM). The government so far has been widely resistant to full cannabis reform, implementing both a much-delayed medical trial only last year as well as finally regulating the CBD business which, as of January 7, will include the sale of flowers. This is a major victory over the government in the first week of the year as the country’s Supreme Court also just overturned the ban on cannabis flowers put forward by the government on December 30 in the plan to regulate the CBD industry.

The last such attempt put forward in 2014 was also rejected by the government. But times they are obviously a’changin’. Beyond the victory on CBD recently, as of June 2021, an Ifop survey showed that 51% of the French public was in favour of at least decriminalization – the highest number since the issue has been tracked (1970).

Things are certainly getting interesting in the French conversation. The question is, with the CBD conversation now formalized in France and a medical trial underway on a national level, how fast can cannabis reform happen on a national level here?

The Need for A Trigger…

It is not just France that is now on the edge of further reform. Germany has yet to even formalize its CBD industry, even though the new coalition here has made cannabis reform an issue for its plank of projects to get accomplished. These two countries, along with Italy, now also poised for a legislative mandate on the topic this year, are far more than say Malta or Spain, are absolutely the bellwether countries for cannabis reform in Europe, simply because they have the most economic clout.

That said, the inevitable is clearly in the air. Full and final cannabis reform is no longer an outlandish but rather a mainstream topic in every European country. 

The question is what will be the exact trigger to force the widespread legalization of the plant. It could be Switzerland’s market, due to kick off this year. It could be that legalizing formal industries in places like Portugal and the seed market in Luxembourg will also pave a path.

But no matter what “it” is, at least talk of full and final reform will be abloom in every European political capital this spring.

Be sure to book your tickets to the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Europe, starting with Barcelona in March!