Following the decree published on December 31, 2021 in the Official Journal, it is now prohibited to buy, sell or consume CBD flowers in France. This decision has received an outcry from traders as well as consumers, who point to the fact that the CBD molecule is not considered a drug, and especially that the CJEU has prohibited France to ban the marketing of CBD. What will happen in the days and weeks to come?
Since last year, the number of stores selling CBD has risen from 400 to more than 2000 in France, according to the Syndicat Professionnel du Chanvre. This ban with immediate effect puts a brutal stop to this expansion. But, does France have the right to take this decision? What will happen in the weeks to come? We will try to enlighten you on the subject.
For some merchants, this decision is seen as a shock wave. In Le Havre, one of the most developed cities in France in terms of CBD (number of stores, by-products, etc.), we met a rather pessimistic shopkeeper on the subject: "Everyone will be unemployed, we have no choice. The flower is 80 % of our sales. All CBD stores will close in France. It is not just by selling oils that traders will manage to survive. Oils, cosmetics and beverages, represent only 20 % of my turnover. It's going to vindicate the people in the neighborhood who sell the real drug, THC-based flowers..."
On the other hand, in the same agglomeration of Le Havre, Cyrille Bjaoui, manager of Weed Corner, does not give in to the panic which seems to take hold of his peers: "This law means that it moves, that it evolves. In the last three years, there have been many advances and it continues to go in the right direction. The CBD has been further clarified with the decree. We are asking that this sector is much more supervised. Today, there are few or no controls. People who know nothing about this business jump in, hence the exponential number of openings of companies related to CBD. There are necessarily methodologies in relation to this emerging sector that are not all put in place.
He believes that this decision will have no impact on his business, because he works with other European countries.
But there is a positive side. Indeed, the hemp trade union has already announced that it will file an appeal to the Council of State. And then, in June 2021, the Court of Cassation had already clarified that France could not prohibit the sale of CBD. "What is unfortunate is that we have a French policy that positions itself rather harshly or in any case not objectively in relation to this sector while there are good prospects, continues Cyrille Bjaoui. What poses problem, it is the floral top, the flowers, the weed, by advancing that it is a problem of public health and that today, the forces of order are not in the possibility of realizing if they have in front of them a product rich in CBD or in THC. This is totally false. It is enough to make 700 km and to go in Switzerland. We have the human and financial means, we just need to have a real desire. The only thing that the decree shows is that France does not want to position itself in relation to this. That's why I'm not worried.
The next appeal to the Constitutional Council will take place this Friday 14/01/22, while all actors in the CBD market are waiting for positive feedback to continue their activity, which is clearly legal and authorized in the name of the European Union. However, it seems certain that you can find CBD flowers in some shops that do not accept this text that goes against the EU.