French Highest Court Suspends Government Ban on Flowers

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.

On December 31, 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%.

However, the same decree prohibits the sale to consumers of flowers and leaves in their raw state of these same varieties, even if the THC content of these flowers and leaves is below the threshold of 0.3%.

Several companies that already market products from these varieties of cannabis, on the basis of a previous ministerial decree, have urgently challenged this ban.

The judge in chambers of the Council of State considered that there was serious doubt about the legality of this general and absolute prohibition measure because of its disproportionate nature.

“Indeed, it does not appear, at the end of the contradictory investigation and the exchanges which took place during the public hearing, that the flowers and leaves of Cannabis Sativa L. whose THC content is less than 0.3% would present a degree of harmfulness to health justifying a total and absolute prohibition measure: this threshold is precisely that retained by the contested decree itself to characterize the cannabis plants authorized for cultivation, importation, export and industrial use. Moreover, it has not been demonstrated that it would be impossible to control this content for the flowers and the leaves, even though the means of control are detailed, for the whole of the plant, in the appendix to the stopped.

While waiting for the Council of State to rule definitively on the merits of the legality of the contested decree, the judge in chambers temporarily suspends the contested ban.”, stated the court in its decision.

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.