Article by Richard Cowan, former NORML National Director and author of the Pros And Cons Of Vaping CBD Oil.
Over the decades that I have been involved in the marijuana legalization movement, I have encountered some remarkable examples of governmental stupidity, but recently France made a strong bid for first place in the international Reefer Madness sweepstakes by trying to ban CBD as a “narcotic.”
CBD isn’t psychoactive. It isn’t “addictive” and it has no known lethal dose. However, it was first discovered as a component of cannabis!! OMG!! OMG!! Of course, cannabis isn’t a Narcotic, either. But French officialdom doesn’t like it, and that seems to be all that is important. Liberte! Egalite! Franternite!
On the other hand, two years ago Connexionfrance.com reported that CBD shops open in Paris as use spreads across France The first cannabis “coffee shops” are opening in the Paris region as the legal use of CBD (cannabidiol) spreads across the country.
Looking for a loophole.
Of course, the owner of one place explained, “It is not a medicine or a relaxant. We are not doctors. I would not advise anyone to smoke cannabis. Here, we sell it like a common product, in the same way as a furniture shop might sell a table or a chair.”
The product sold in Cofyshop comes from Switzerland, and a label on the jars reads “do not smoke”.
Another owner said: “I do not sell CBD products so they can be smoked in a joint, but so that people can find another flavour that they enjoy.”
I can truthfully say that I have never tried to smoke a table or a chair, but I can remember when headshops had signs that said, “For tobacco use only.”
The Connexionfrance.com article quotes Dan Velea, a “psychologist of addictive substances… spoke to news source 20 Minutes about the spread of CBD, and called it “problematic”.
He said: “There are not enough studies [on this]…there is a risk that users [of CBD] may return to using cannabis containing THC, and that CBD will act as a ‘gateway’ product for new users.”
Of course, French officialdom wasn’t fooled, so they prosecuted KanaVape, a company that exports CBD oil made from whole hemp plants.
As the Guardian explained, “Under French law, only the fibre and seeds of hemp – a variety of the cannabis plant containing less than 0.2% of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC – may be put to commercial use, not the flower.” So they tried to ban CBD, but they lost.
It ruled, “The cannabis-derived compound CBD is not a narcotic drug because “it does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health”.
The decision by the court of justice of the European Union deals a severe blow to efforts by some EU countries to limit the sale of CBD, while simultaneously giving the CBD industry a boost. Many products are currently sold in the EU in a legal grey area.”
The court ruled that the French ban on the marketing of hemp-derived CBD products contradicted EU law on the free movement of goods.
As the Guardian reported, “The national court must assess available scientific data in order to make sure that the real risk to public health alleged does not appear to be based on purely hypothetical considerations,” the court wrote.
“A decision to prohibit the marketing of CBD, which indeed constitutes the most restrictive obstacle to trade in products lawfully manufactured and marketed in other [EU] member states, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established.”
It noted that two key UN conventions classifying illegal drugs do not specifically mention CBD, although they mention “cannabis extracts”.