The Cour de Cassation in France has concluded that EU produced CBD products are legal to buy and sell in France. However, it did not make a decision on whether CBD itself is legal or illegal in France. They returned this question to the lower court where a dispute about CBD products sold in a specialist store in Dijon began.
The decision of the French court of appeals
On Wednesday, June 23rd, the French court of appeals made a decision that CBD products are legal to sell in France if they are produced in an EU state. The verdict was made from previous pressures by the European Court of Justice in previous years.
The case had made its way up from a smaller dispute originating in the city of Dijon. The original case came from a CBD shop owner who was confronted with some problems as a result of the vague CBD laws in France.
The decision from the Court of Cassation was a positive result for the shop owner, Mathieu Bensa, who is happy with the verdict. However, he also claimed confusion with the CBD laws in France, stating: “we did not understand why France was the last country in the European Union that had not given access to the sale of hemp plants.”
However, all is not done for Mr Brinsa, as the court of appeals did not conclude the entire matter. Although the court ruled that the sale of EU produced CBD is legal, the judges passed back part of the decision to the lower court.
Mr Brinsa’s case was sent back and the lower court must decide whether selling CBD in France is legal or not. Although the shop owner has another court case ahead of him, the verdict from the court of appeals and the pressures from EU law should influence the next hearing in Mr Brinsa’s favour.
France trail behind EU CBD and hemp policy
France has some of the strictest laws on CBD in the EU bloc. Due to the pressures of the EU, the laws can be quite vague and difficult for buyers and sellers to follow correctly.
The French government persists in banning CBD from the market. However, it would be impossible for this to happen in its entirety, as it would be contradictory to EU law.
The EU has pressed the French government to loosen strict bans to meet similar CBD policies as the rest of the EU.
The verdict in the court of appeals this week could be a major decision, showing a swing in the French government attitudes towards hemp and CBD. With the court ruling that the sale of European produced CBD products are legal, it seems that France is changing and starting to fold under the pressures of the EU.
Nonetheless, this still makes France a confusing place to buy and sell CBD products. Disputes that go to court can go either way. Possibly the judges follow the EU policies, or they follow the much more strict bans on CBD in France. This can make it extremely difficult for CBD entrepreneurs, like Mr Brinsa, to know what is expected of them.
What France could miss as a CBD nation
If France continues to use their stringent CBD laws, they are going to feel even more pressure from the EU, both legally and economically. CBD and hemp is a fast-growing industry, and they are even making their way onto some world stock markets. EU members spent 8.3 billion on CBD in 2020.
Many expect the EU will continue to loosen restrictions in order for EU countries to take part in the economic opportunities of the cannabis marketplace. And if France continues to implement bans on CBD, they will miss out on some of these opportunities.
Also, France is one of the EU’s biggest consumers of CBD. This is a potential market that the French may miss out on. If farmers are not permitted to grow cannabis in France, it leaves other EU countries the opportunity to profit from the highly profitable French demand.