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France sees united front against new hemp decree

The French CBD industry is being shaken up following the implementation of a new decree regulating hemp products.

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France sees united front against new hemp decree

France has implemented a new decree allowing hemp farmers not to destroy their flowers and to extract hemp from all parts of the plant. However, the decree also prohibits the sale of CBD flowers to consumers – a major blow for the French market.

France implemented article R. 5132-86 of the French Public Health Code on December 30, 2021, which regulates hemp products. This includes imports and exports, cultivation, and sales and commercial use. 

The good news is that farmers no longer have to destroy their flower crops. However, it also prohibits the sale CBD flowers to consumers on health grounds.

This development has seen a united front against the regulation from industry bodies, including The Syndicat du Chanvre (The Professional Hemp Union), L630, the Union des Professionnels du CBD and others.

In a statement, drug policy reform organisation , L630, said: “The catastrophic results of this policy would require a reform, to put an end to the chaos of prohibition, but, conversely, France is tightening its regulations, claiming to ban even non-psychotropic CBD flowers, normally marketed in our European neighbours, as in France, for a few years now.

“This decree poses solid legal problems. It violates constitutionally guaranteed freedom of commerce and industry, and undermines thousands of jobs without serious justification.”

And continued to say: “At a time when Germany plans to legalise cannabis, and even as Europe markets hemp-derived products more and more widely, France is once again choosing to take the opposite view.

“The French prohibitionist exception will not resist this global movement which is being rolled out nationally through the mobilization of more and more numerous and increasingly strong actors. One thing is now certain, it will be necessary to face the anger of the many economic actors of CBD who could well rely on the dissatisfaction of their customers…

“L630 calls on all unions and professionals to unite to challenge this manifestly illegal decree in court. It remains at their disposal to ensure the conditions of union and to respond with a loud and clear voice to a government which is absurdly obstinate.”

Syndicat du Chanvre, which brings together players in the French wellness hemp, medical cannabis and textile hemp sectors, commented in an online post: “It is incredible that France wishes to continue to ignore the law on the subject … and to take decisions that are the exact opposite of the objectives it displays in terms of health or the fight against trafficking.” [translated from Google]

In a public statement, it commented to say: “…from an economic point of view, the union can only be saddened by the loss of revenue that this decree represents.

“Indeed, CBD hemp flowers represent 50 per cent of the CBD market, i.e. nearly €1bn in business volume. The ban on the sale of hemp flowers can only lead to a wave of redundancies of several thousand jobs for all the actors of the sector, especially the traders.

“This loss of economic opportunity will benefit economic actors in other European countries who will be able to continue shipping to France.

“The Hemp Union will challenge this decision before the administrative courts in the coming weeks. Until then, the union calls on the Government to start a dialogue with the French hemp industry.”

A petition has also been launched calling to annul the decree regarding the prohibition of flower sales. The petition, launched by Éric Juilliat, CEO of French Swiss Hemp, already has nearly 28,000 signatures (at the time of publishing), just days following its launch.

Speaking to Cannabis Wealth, Juilliat commented: “I launched this citizen petition to raise awareness that this decree is unjust.

“It was my duty as a free, French citizen to create this petition in order to make our government understand that this decision was unfair to the entire hemp industry, while in other countries this molecule is not prohibited.”

The petition highlights that most people consume CBD flower for THC weaning and that the ban will push many back to using black markets, forcing them to fall back on an uncontrolled substance with a high THC level.

Lorenza Romanese, managing director at the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), a pan-European membership organisation representing hemp farmers and producers, said in a comment to CannabisWealth: “We certainly welcome the French decision to allow operators to extract hemp from all parts of the plant. 

“As EIHA we defend the total crop valuation and this decision certainly goes in the right direction. Nevertheless, we should recall that because of lengthy decisions, EU operators have lost part of the market (especially the isolate CBD) as they will never be able to compete with US prices.”

However, Romanese highlights that the prohibition of flower sales will negatively impact the hemp leaf market. 

“In particular, the sale to consumers of flowers or raw leaves in all their forms, alone or in combination with other ingredients, their possession by consumers and their consumption are prohibited,” added Romanese. 

“That does not help the EU hemp leaf (tea) market which EIHA defends and which is perfectly legal in other Member States.”

Yannick Jadot, a candidate for the presidential election, has expressed his support for producers and sellers.

[Google translation]: CBD: the government demonstrates its absolute ignorance of the subject, prisoner as it is of its policy of ineffective and dangerous repression against cannabis. Support for producers and sellers.

The decree was implemented following the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal dropping its charges against French company KanaVape, which was prosecuted for breaking French law by selling vapourisers containing CBD oil extracted from the whole cannabis plant.

The dropped charges confirmed the ruling made in November 2020 by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that CBD is not a narcotic and that EU Member States may not ban the marketing of CBD when extracted from the whole plant. 

Former co-director of KanaVape, Antonin Cohen, publicly commented on the development to say that: “Hemp farmers don’t have to destroy their flowers anymore. Now, we can legally extract CBD in France. French authorities have been forced to publish this new law following my victory at the European Court of Justice in the Kanavape Case. 

“Unfortunately, the new law clarifies again that hemp flowers cannot be sold to end consumers. Such a shame because hemp flowers are an excellent risk-reduction tool for cannabis smokers. Also very good to use in herbal infusions. 

“So much more work to achieve for the complete liberation of traditional plants. The fight is just getting started.”

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Swiss CBD investment company secures £26.23m funding

Pharma Tech Holding has obtained a capital commitment agreement from LDA Capital.

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Swiss CBD investment company secures £26.23m funding
Home » News » CBD » France sees united front against new hemp decree

Pharma Tech Holding SA has secured a CHf30m (£26.23m) investment from global investment group LDA Capital Ltd – with expertise in cross-border transactions including the agriculture, Agri-tech, and CBD industries – which will support its portfolio investments.

Pharma Tech Holding SA invests in innovative businesses with high technological value and scalability potential, mainly in Switzerland and Europe, with a focus on the health-tech, agri-tech, and functional food.

The CHf30m investment from LDA Capital will allow the company to invest and support its portfolio company Blue Sky Swisse SA, which focuses on the extraction of natural active principles from vegetable matrices, vegetable waste, and renewable sources to deliver B2B products under the form of CBD oil, terpenes and waxes. 

Read more: New cannabis-themed ETF launches

The factory, located in Biasca, will be built with state of art of extraction technology using supercritical CO2, and will be self-sufficient through the use of solar photovoltaic panels and district heating. 

CEO at Pharma Tech Holding, Sabina Del Nigro, commented: “We’re thrilled with this partnership and are so glad that LDA Capital recognises the value of Pharma Tech Holding and its portfolio company, with the aim of creating one of the most innovative hubs for health-tech, agri-tech and functional food.”

Blue Sky Swisse will make high-quality CBD due to a proprietary extraction process, starting from the farming, performed under strict control and culminating with the immediate freezing of the flowers after harvest. 

It will also sell “all natural” formulations to increase bioavailability and will invest in the agricultural raw material chain, as well as creating an aeroponic greenhouse in Ticino, to deliver a high-quality GMP pharmaceutical CBD oil.

LDA Capital agreed to commit an amount of up to CHf30m in cash within a maximum of three years. This Capital Commitment will be released based on drawdowns by Pharma Tech Holding, which Pharma Tech Holding has the right to exercise at its sole discretion.

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Tenacious Labs acquires CBD pet company Rover’s Wellness 

The acquisition is part of Tenacious Labs buy-and-build strategy.

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Tenacious Labs acquires CBD pet company Rover’s Wellness 
Home » News » CBD » France sees united front against new hemp decree

Tenacious Labs has diversified into the pet care market with the acquisition of Rover’s Wellness, which specialises in THC-free CBD.

Tenacious Labs has stated that the acquisition of Rover’s Wellness represents an important milestone in its strategy to become a leading consumer products group globally.

The acquisition sees the group diversify into the high-growth pet care market for the first time. CBD pet care, according to Prohibition Partners, is expected to see global sales of products reach $424.4m (~£350.83) by 2024, representing a CAGR of 18.6 per cent.

Read more: Tenacious Labs to move headquarters to Jersey

As part of the acquisition, RaChelle Baca-Lobre will join Tenacious Labs as global director of sales – pet division and CPG wholesale and private label. Tenacious has stated that Baca-Lobre’s personal passion for CBD-enriched pet care, as well as her experience in managing a fast-growing brand, will prove invaluable for the Group as it looks to scale up its pet care division over the coming months.

Read more: Tenacious Labs CEO discusses its acquisition of Press Pause

 CEO and co-founder of Tenacious Labs, Nicholas Morland, commented: “We are delighted to welcome RaChelle and her team to Tenacious Labs. 

“Since launching in 2018, Rover’s Wellness has grown rapidly, launching genuinely market-leading products which have been well received by customers across the US. This acquisition will enable us to kick-start our pet care division, while combining RaChelle’s expertise and Tenacious Labs’ high quality manufacturing capabilities to significantly scale up Rover’s Wellness. 

“We look forward to working with her closely over the coming months and years.

Tennessee-based Rover’s Wellness creates high quality products containing all natural, non-GMO ingredients including 100 per cent certified organically grown hemp. The company was founded by Baca-Lobre in 2018 after her own pet was diagnosed with cancer. Rover’s Wellness offers a range of oils, topical salves and treats which use CBD to support joint flexibility and mobility, ease anxiety and promote positive long-term health for dogs, cats and equine.

A core part of the brand’s approach is its commitment to testing and transparency. Leveraging a “seed to sale” approach, Rover’s Wellness works directly with growers and uses state-of-the-art nano technology to extract CBD before purity testing. 

Each batch is tested by a certified industrial hemp laboratory, both before and after production, with all lab-results published on its website. This process ensures that none of Rover’s Wellness products contain THC – the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis which is harmful to animals.

Baca-Lobre said: “I am excited to join Tenacious Labs, a group which reflects my desire to create safe, natural and quality products, underpinned by third-party laboratory testing. 

“We have enjoyed great success to date, and I believe that by harnessing Tenacious Labs’ best-in-class manufacturing facilities, marketing expertise, and operational support, we can unlock more exciting growth opportunities for Rover’s Wellness and the group’s broader pet care division.”

Tenacious Labs has now completed three acquisitions since launching 12 months ago, including female-focused CBD brand Press Pause and high-quality white-label manufacturer SZM LLC — now operating as TL Manufacturing. The group has also continued to expand, now employing 35 people around the world as it looks to scale up.

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SEED Innovations ramps up investment in South West Brands

The company has now invested a total of £500,000 in South West Brands.

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SEED Innovations ramps up investment in South West Brands
Home » News » CBD » France sees united front against new hemp decree

SEED Innovations has invested a further £50,000 in CBD company South West Brands Limited.

The investment by SEED Innovations has been made as part of a funding round by London-based South West Brands to raise up to £1m. 

Focusing on making investments in the medical cannabis, health and wellness spaces, Guernsey-based SEED Innovations made its last investment in South West Brands of £150,000 in 2021, bringing its toady investment in South West Brands to £450,000.

Read more: All female-led South West Brands to list on London Stock Exchange

South West Brands, which recently saw its Botanic Lab drinks and supplements added to the UK Food Standard Agency list of CBD products permitted to stay on sale in England and Wales, has recently had two of its products listed in major UK retailers. 

Its LoveMeMeMe brand is now stocked in Asos and its FEWE brand will be stocked in Superdrug from September.

CEO of SEED, Ed McDermott, commented: “We have seen some considerable progress made by the team at South West Brands over recent weeks with the launch of their two brands for sale in to Superdrug stores and online at ASOS. 

“The products have received a fantastic reception by consumers in what is fast becoming a burgeoning FemTech sector where South West Brands are leading the charge.

“Generating early revenues, with the products now increasingly available, we anticipate seeing a fast uptick in wholesale sales which will further lead to additional product development and hopefully support for the products availability outside of the UK.

“We are pleased to continue to support Rebekah Hall and her team as they build a credible, sustainable and scalable wellness business developing and commercialising their brands.”

CEO of South West Brands, Rebekah Hall, said: “The progress SWB has made in the short time since launch is just the beginning of where we believe our brands can reach. In particular, we are at an exciting juncture in the provision of female wellness solutions with increased awareness infiltrating mainstream audiences and building commercial traction with mainstream retailers. 

“With further funding in place, including the support from SEED, we look ahead to continued growth in the UK as well as commercial opportunities in other markets, including the US. “

The investment is by way of a three year, 8 per cent Convertible Loan Note (CLN), and SEED has agreed to convert £50,000 of the 12 month, 8 per cent CLN subscribed for in July 2021 into this three year, 8 per cent CLN.

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