France Lifts THC Limit to 0.3%

With the New Year, the THC limit in France is lifted up to 0.3%. On the 31st of December 2021, a new decree on cannabis cultivation and the sale of CBD in France was published in the Official Journal of the French Republic.

The document issued by the Ministry of Health allows the import, export, and industrial and commercial use of Cannabis Sativa L. varieties with THC content not exceeding 0.3%. The set limit is in line with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The new CAP is entering into force on January 1st, 2023. The document allows the European farmers to receive Direct Payments for hemp varieties registered in the EU Catalogue with the maximum level of THC of 0.3 %. This will bring to a potential enlargement of the number of hemp varieties accepted under the EU Catalogue.

The new French decree comes as good news for CBD producers since it lifts the THC limit in final products to 0.3%, but shopowners could find themselves in a new round of concerns because of the definite ban on selling whole flowers and leaves directly to consumers.

According to the new decree, the flowers and leaves can be used only for the production of hemp extracts. The sale and consumption of raw flowers or leaves in all their forms, alone or in a mixture with other ingredients is prohibited.

The new decree replaces the one from 22 August 1990. While the president of the Industrial Union for the Valorization of Hemp Extracts (L’UIVEC) Ludovic Rachou welcomes the document, saying it will pave the way for more ‘made in France’ products, it was met with a lot of criticism from the members of the French green party.

Julien Bayou, national secretary of the Europe Écologie les Verts (EELV) condemned the banning of the sale of CBD flowers and leaves, calling the decision “stupid, absurd, the worst kind of nonsense”, and a real New Year’s gift to drug dealers.

On Monday, January 24, the French highest court, the Council of State, temporarily suspended the ban on the sale of raw CBD flowers and leaves. The judge considered that there was serious doubt about the legality of the general and absolute prohibition.

Reviewed by Sasha Bajilo, founder of ILESOL Pharmaceuticals, an industrial scale producer of CBD products and formulations. Expert on Hemp/Cannabis policy, member of the Croatian Ministry of Health regulatory commission for medical cannabis.