French laws are slowly becoming more accepting of CBD products as people around the world recognize the value of cannabis extracts.
In France, marijuana is defined as a strain of Cannabis sativa with more than 0.2% THC by weight. THC is the main reason why marijuana is illegal in many countries around the world — including France. It’s the primary psychoactive ingredient in the plant responsible for the high produced by marijuana.
It’s important to know that cannabis is the umbrella term for both hemp and marijuana — and the distinction is crucial to understanding the laws regarding CBD in France.
A Brief History of Cannabis Laws in France
France has been growing industrial hemp for hundreds of years. By 1850, France was producing more than 175,000 hectares of hemp — this number decreased to a low of 700 hectares by 1960 .
Most European-based CBD companies will ship directly to France. Our favorite brands are Nordic Oil, Endoca, and Reakiro.
However, CBD is NOT considered a narcotic in the eyes of the government — but there are restrictions that must be followed in order for it to be legal.
When shopping online, make sure you choose products made with CBD isolates to avoid any trouble with the authorities.
On the glass counter in front of him is a row of jars with buds in them, labelled with names like silver bud, Swiss cheese, or tropical haze. There are signs stating that the buds are not to be smoked. Instead, there are instructions on how to brew them into tea. Though he says what his clients do with the flowers is up to them.
A grey area in the law
Even though he believed he had done nothing wrong, he was still worried: “It’s stressful, because you don’t really know what’s going to happen. We were sure we were following the rules. But you still end up detained with criminals,” he says.
They also attracted the attention of the authorities. By the summer of 2018 they had shut down most of the Paris shops, days after the anti-drug mission published its directive.
CBD in France, why now?
The Cour de cassation said that while the buds in the store were found to have trace amounts of THC, if they were legally produced in the European union, the owner should have been allowed to sell them.
Foxseeds, the shop at the centre of the case, like most CBD shops, sold buds, which authorities argue is illegal, regardless of how much THC they contain.
France’s highest appeals court has ruled that the sale of CBD is not illegal if it has been legally produced in a European member state. But it sent the decision on whether CBD itself is legal or not in France back down to the lower court.
But the court did not rule on whether selling CBD in France is legal or not, and sent a case involving the owner of a CBD shop back to a lower court in Grenoble for another ruling.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, whose consumption remains illegal in France.
France allows for the sale of cannabis fibres and seeds containing less than 0.2 percent of THC, the psychoactive component in the plant.
The owner was prosecuted for selling illegal drugs and the lower appeals court agreed that his sale of buds was illegal.