Will CBD soon be legal in Europe? The court decision that could change everything

Things are moving in Europe regarding the regulation of CBD.
While its consumption (and hence marketing) is still prohibited in many

prohibited in many European countries (including France), the hemp industry is set to undergo major upheaval in the near future.

Indeed, 5 judges from the European Union’s highest court, the Court of Justice, have weighed in on the question of whether CBD should be considered a narcotic or not. The Kanavape ruling was issued just two weeks before the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs vote on possible changes to CBD regulation.

Understanding the context of possible change in France: the Kanavape affair

To understand how CBD regulation in France and Europe could change, we need to understand the Kanavape case. This dispute concerns the marketing of a CBD vaping device imported from the Czech Republic and banned in France.

On the basis of a ban on products derived from hemp flowers , the French authorities prosecuted Sébastien Béguerie and Antonin Cohen founders of the Kanavape brand. In the first instance, the two Marseilles-based entrepreneurs were sentenced to 18 and 15 months’ suspended imprisonment, and fined 10,000 euros.

The problem is that the CBD used in their products was

legally cultivated in the Czech Republic

This led the judges of the European Court of Justice to rule on a possible French violation of the principle of free movement within the EU.

As long ago as last May, a Court of Justice ruling stated that this ban was indeed in contradiction with the free movement of goods. However, this opinion was not binding and was based solely on the fact that CBD has not been classified as a narcotic by the UN since 1961.

The question of public health risks

In France, the official line has long been to justify

justifying the ban on CBD on the basis of potential risks

that its consumption could have on public health. However, the European Court’s decision notes that the current state of scientific research on the subject shows that, unlike THC (another hemp derivative), CBD has no psychotropic or harmful effect on human health.

The European authorities are therefore encouraging the French justice system to review its position, on the basis of available scientific data. Banning the marketing of CBD could be considered illegal if this hypothetical impact on human health is not sufficiently established.

The World Health Organization states that CBD is “generally well tolerated” and that there is no solid evidence “of public health problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” . In recent years, its use in the form of oils, creams and other derivatives has increased, notably to relieve stress, anxiety or inflammation. A study published in the European Journal of Pain also tried to reduce arthritic pain.

What could change for the marketing of CBD in Europe?

For the lawyer defending one of Kanavape’s founders, this decision by the European Court of Justice could

set a binding precedent

for the CBD industry in France, but also more widely in Europe.

In her view, it will have a significant impact, and could prompt the French and European authorities to change the current conditions, legalizing CBD derivatives on condition that they comply with the maximum authorized THC level of 0.2%. It’s a decision that must also ensure that we don’t lose any more market share than we already have, to more progressive countries like the USA and Canada.

The principle of the free movement of goods and the insufficient evidence that CBD is dangerous are therefore two powerful drivers for

to change current legislation

in France, but also in other EU member states.

According to the Syndicat Professionnel du Chanvre, a French association of players committed to the legalization of CBD, the political authorities have already taken the first step in preparing a series of decisions along these lines. Good news for consumers who will be able to find good-quality products more easily, and benefit from professional advice when purchasing CBD .

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