CBD is the abbreviation of the molecule "cannabidiol". This molecule is present in cannabis and is part of the very large group of cannabinoids since the plant has nearly 500. Unlike the well-known cannabinoid, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is non-psychoactive.
This substance provides only health benefits, including stress and anxiety reduction. Cannabis itself, containing high concentrations of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is still considered a narcotic product. Indeed this molecule is responsible for the psychotropic effects of cannabis.
The plant is therefore illegal in France as in many countries around the world, as is its consumption. On the other hand, cannabidiol (CBD) plants and its flowers are legal as long as their THC levels do not exceed 0.3% and that it is not intended to be smoked. It is therefore perfectly legitimate to make a CBD purchase in France.
CBD products containing cannabidiol exist in many forms, such as resins, oils, or various consumables such as candies or ready meals. Following a decision of the Council of State, the wide range of these CBD products can be sold, with one counterpart: the finished product must not contain THC at all.
As far as flowers, resins and all CBD cannabis products are concerned, if their THC content exceeds 0.3% they are considered as narcotics and their transport, marketing, sale or use are repressed by the French law in the same way as traditional cannabis. For consumers, this constitutes a criminal offence punishable by one year's imprisonment and a fixed fine of 200 euros, which can be capped at 3,750 euros for specific cases. Sellers and growers are liable to up to ten years in prison.
Following a decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the French authorities revised the legislation applicable to the import, use and cultivation of CBD hemp, which is now legal, by a decree dated December 30, 2021. The law provides a regulatory framework that is intended to maintain a high level of protection for consumers while preserving the policy of combating drug trafficking implemented since 2019. This policy guarantees a secure development of economic activities related to the marketing of CBD hemp products, as well as the cultivation and industrial production of extracts of the plant.
Although part of this decree aimed to prohibit the marketing of flowers, this component was suspended on January 24, 2022 by the Council of State. In France, as in the law in force in the European Union, it is possible to buy and consume CBD legally.
Given the excitement around legal CBD in France and its exposure, it was easy to anticipate that many new players would try to capture the market. Producers are closely following the evolution of the legislation because it could offer them new opportunities.
In spite of a legal vagueness always present and a regulation which is built with the passing of time, trying to protect from the drifts which the production of these plants CBD could bring, the culture of CBD is legal in France. On the other hand, any trade and any culture of cannabis with a THC content higher than 0.3% is prohibited.
The production of CBD is however subject to certain regulations:
In the last few months, the European Union has made changes to the law concerning the cultivation of legal CBD hemp: the concentration of THC present in the plants can now go up to 0.3%, compared to the 0.2% previously in force.
Although this may not seem like much, it allows European farmers to select about 50% more seed varieties.
And this is not nothing, because in terms of international competition, countries such as Australia, Switzerland, or even in America the United States or Canada, allow their farmers to grow CBD hemp containing levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol up to 1%.