On Friday, 7 January, a new ruling was made in France outlining the definition of narcotics, raising further questions on the legitimacy of the recent decree prohibiting the sale of CBD flowers.
Last week, the French Constitutional Council made a new ruling on the definition of a narcotic. The ruling declared that in order for a substance to be classed as a narcotic is must be both toxic and addictive.
Previously, France, which is currently in a presidential campaign, did not have a specific definition of narcotics, only a list that has products or substances added to it each year.
Following the conclusion of the industry’s infamous KannaVape case in 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) declared that CBD is not a narcotic due to the fact it “does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health”.
This led to a new decree in France in December 2021, which enables farmers not to destroy their hemp crops, but which prohibits the sale of CBD flowers to consumers on health grounds.
The new French ruling on narcotics and the new decree seem to directly contradict each other.
The French Association of Cannabinoid Producers spoke at the hearing for the narcotics ruling. On its website, the Association states that: “To be able to practice in the CBD sector in Europe, the French law concerning cannabinoids and its derivatives must evolve and align with the EU.
“Legislative restrictions still prevent the development of the French market and favour foreign markets: it is a real injustice for the French players in the sector who are nevertheless ready to invest and work.
“The slowness of the French administration and the current situation continues to widen the gap with our foreign competitors.”
Speaking to Cannabis Wealth, François-Guillaume Piotrowski, President of the French Association of Cannabinoid Producers, commented: “My reaction about the decision of the Constitutional Court is that this is a good update for the french CBD sector after a hard new regulation on 30 December, because the council has made a precise definition of what is a narcotic in regard of the law and what is not.
“According to their definition, CBD is not a narcotic. So, now it will be the first step to continue justice action [regarding the decree], to obtain a regulation that will be more adapted to the reality of this sector and to the demand of the consumers.”
Regarding the decree, Benjamin-Alexandre Jeanroy, co-founder and CEO at Paris-based Augur Associates, a consulting firm focused on the hemp and cannabis industry, commented: “This situation was back and forth since 2018 with the appearance of the first CBD shops all over the territory.
“Since then, it was not allowed to sell hemp flowers, it was just not directly forbidden. The decree was forced on the Government by the KanaVape case, but also by other cases internal to French jurisdictions.
“We do know that this decree is provisionary. It could last one to three years because it is in contradiction with what’s happening in other EU Member States and is probably going to be attacked at the EU Court of Justice at one point or another.
“What the decree creates is more stability for some actors of the CBD ecosystem. Mostly, for people working with extract with transformed products, and even the right to grow hemp flowers on French territory, as to be able to extract CBD and other minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
“It also brings, I’d say, almost distress to some others. CBD retailers and small farmers who can’t do direct sales to consumers. It just creates still more uncertainty for the people working at that level in shops and for small cannabis farmers.
“What we see is that the government is prioritising other interests – more industrial. And that’s where we are for now.”
Jeanroy says the ruling from the Constitutional Court creates a lot of questions, as its new definition could consider both tobacco and alcohol as a narcotic.
“We could also consider that CBD is not [a narcotic], because it has been clearly defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and later on by the EU Court, following the KanaVape case, as being non-addictive and non-toxic.
“France recently took the seat of Presidency of the Council of Europe which means that they’re going to preside over many different instances of regulations.
“They are going to use that for many different objectives. One of them is that France is currently in a presidential campaign – so, you have Macron, who wants to project certain things, and has decided that on the topic of drugs, narcotics, cannabis, hemp, he was going to show a prohibitive face, talking to more of the right-wing of his electorate.
“That means that it is currently using EU institutions as a way to foster its internal political plans. You can see that at different levels right now.”
The CBD decree was made on health grounds, and recently a small study came out linking unemployment with the use of cannabis.
“This little study is quite problematic in its methodology,” said Jeanroy. “But it is one thing they are showing in order to advance their political views.
“Another study came out from a small group of pharmacists saying that there are some things that CBD does not work with in terms of interaction. We don’t know enough. We should be very careful. It could be dangerous. Even if we don’t really know why.
“So, this is a direct response from the French government to the ruling of the KanaVape case that said that the only way for France to restrict the access of CBD was to show that there were health issues.”
A direct action initiative is taking place against the decree spearheaded by French cannabis industry bodies. Jeanroy says the process will likely entail judiciary work over the next few years, which will have to take place before the country sees any proper regulation integrating the direct sale of CBD flowers to consumers.
JM Wholesale sees 750 products included on FSA CBD list
The CBD stockist has described the development as a milestone for the company.
Following a partnership with the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and active participation with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), JM Wholesale has had more than 750 items included on the public CBD list.
Earlier this year the FSA published its list of CBD products linked to what it deems as credible Novel Food applications. Products included on the list will be advancing through the final stages towards authorisation, expected by 2023.
More than 900 applications for thousands of UK products have been submitted for approval, with the majority being rejected for lacking basic information such as toxicity levels.
JM Wholesale has announced that it has now had 750 of its products included on the public list.
Thomas Lowe, operations director at the Leicester-based company, said that, after 200 per cent business growth in the past 18 months and a resulting move to major new premises, JM Wholesale is now perfectly placed to consolidate its position as the UK’s premier CBD wholesaler.
Lowe commented: “We have a larger range of approved CBD products than any other distributor and this moment is another milestone for our company.
“We’ve worked hard to ensure that our customers and our business are protected, by getting rid of any products not published on the FSA’s website, regardless of how big those brands are.
“In fact we’ve always loved finding unique products, including those where the CBD can be absorbed in different ways. That way, more people from different walks of life can enjoy CBD no matter how they prefer to access it.
“From our distribution centre we now provide the largest range of isolate and full spectrum CBD products in the UK, all of which are 100 per cent accepted by the FSA.
“We are the first distributor to add the relevant Novel Food classification numbers to all of our relevant listed products.
“The past few months have been extremely challenging for our industry but we have made efforts to take an active role in the novel food submission process. We anticipated regulation of this industry, we were determined not to let it stand in the way of the growth of our business, and we’ve participated accordingly.
“All in all, this is excellent news for our customers and partners.”
The company has stated that it has experienced rapid growth off the back of increased awareness of the health benefits of CBD products in the UK, and that, alongside its consumer business, it also exports to suppliers in the UK and in 170 countries worldwide.
FSA CBD list now closed for applications
An additional 6000 products added to the Food standards Agency’s (FSA) CBD list.
The FSA has confirmed that the UK’s list of CBD products linked to credible Novel Foods applications is now closed.
The FSA has updated its public list of CBD products that can be marketed in England and Wales, adding almost 6000 products. These are products that are linked to a credible application submitted for authorisation to the FSA, and are not new to the market.
The organisation has confirmed that the public list, which was initially published in March, is now closed and has stated that any further requests to have products put on the public list or evidence sent are no longer being accepted.
The FSA has previously reminded consumers that products on the list will be able to remain on the market as they progress towards final authorisation, but that, although these products are classed as “credible”, it does not guarantee they will be authorised for sale.
Rebecca Sudworth, director of policy at the FSA, stated: “This has been a long and complex process and we are grateful for the help and cooperation of the CBD industry as we reach this important milestone on the path to bringing CBD products into compliance and protecting consumers.
“The only changes we envisage being made to the list now will be to reflect the status of products as we move to authorisation, and any routine corrections.
“We have seen the list, which contains almost 12,000 products, grow considerably since March when we first published it. The publication of the initial list prompted a number of companies to come forward with new evidence linking large numbers of individual products to existing applications, and so we made a final call for evidence to support businesses in achieving compliance for their products.
“We think it is important we get this right, and it is encouraging that so many companies want to get their CBD products on the path to authorisation.”
Businesses wanting to sell their products in Great Britain should now apply to the FSA’s regulated products process and those wanting to sell in Northern Ireland should apply to the European Commission. However, as new applications will not be eligible for the public list, they should not be put on sale until they have been authorised.
Validated applications on the CBD list are currently moving on to a full risk assessment stage of the application process, and those that are shown to be of a low enough risk must also go through a risk management process before a recommendation can be made to Ministers on authorisation.
At the time of the list’s initial publication in March, the FSA confirmed that, with a lengthy process still to go, it is unlikely any applications will be considered for authorisation before early to mid-2023, with any additional authorisations potentially taking another few years.
The FSA emphasises that there are currently no authorised CBD products on the market.
British Cannabis™ launches premium CBD products in Selfridges
The CBD by British Cannabis™ collection will be showcased in the Beauty Hall at Selfridges London.
British Cannabis™ is launching its premium, flagship range of CBD products in Selfridges.
British Cannabis™ will launch its super-premium collection of 100 per cent cannabis supplements and cosmetics in Selfridges on 4 July, 2022.
All of the food supplement products in the CBD by British Cannabis™ collection were recently included on the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) public list of products that are legal for sale on the UK market.
The products’ appearance on the list followed the company’s successful submission of Novel Foods applications.
A recent update by the FSA saw British Cannabis™ ranked as the UK’s largest CBD manufacturer by number of publicly listed CBD products manufactured.
CEO, Thomas Whettem, commented: “This is yet another great milestone in the British Cannabis™ story. It is a testament to the levels of excellence we demand within our supply chain and products, that we are now stocked at an iconic, prestige retailer in Selfridges.
“We set out to create ‘the champagne of CBD oils’, with more beneficial cannabis phytochemicals than any other CBD products compliant and legal for sale today.
“Our premium, THC-free products are both UK-born and UK-manufactured, thus debuting in Selfridges London seems very appropriate.”
CBD by British Cannabis™ products have won multiple awards in recent years, including the Highly Commended 2021, P3 MVP Award for 1000mg CBD Cannabis Oils, ICP magazine’s 2022 CBD Product of The Year, and Your Healthy Living magazine’s 2022 Silver Award for Best CBD Products (for CBD by British Cannabis™ Dermal Patches 500mg).
The 100 per cent cannabis products contain hundreds of other beneficial cannabis compounds, terpenes, flavonoids, phenols and more, whilst still being compliant with regulations and legal for sale within the UK.
Each product is rigorously tested for accuracy, purity, and THC-free status for consumer peace of mind.
Every product contains the knowledge and expertise that has been amassed over the last seven years of British Cannabis™ existence, evidenced in the growing, extraction, research, development, and manufacturing that saw this British start-up grow to be the leading authority in consumer cannabis products within the UK.
The company launched a television campaign in March 2022 for the range as part of a half a million pound investment in awareness building and consumer recruitment 2022/23.
The campaign aimed to break down barriers to legal cannabis-derived products, gaining broadcaster approval to make more industry-specific references than any campaign to date.
Shown across dozens of premium channels on the SKY and Channel 5 networks, this marked the first time that the SKY network had opened its doors to CBD advertisers on their linear stations since 2019.
British Cannabis™ managing director, David Ralson, commented: “As proud as we are of our tested, trusted, super-premium CBD supplements and cosmetics, we are equally proud to now be bringing them to the world-class shopping experience at Selfridges, as part of our distribution expansion plans.
“For over a century, Selfridges have brought premium health and beauty products to the forefront in exciting ways – and especially in their new Feel Good Bar. As one of the UK’s original British-made CBD ranges, with a heritage in this young industry of nearly seven years, the match of Selfridges and CBD by British Cannabis™ seems a perfect fit.
“I hope that Selfridges shoppers grow to love and trust our CBD range as much as our existing loyal customer base, who over the years have given us over 1,500 5-star reviews on Trustpilot.”
With sales of wellbeing supplements, superfoods and ingestibles up almost 125 per cent at Selfridges since last year and almost 700 per cent compared to pre-pandemic, The Feel Good Bar will launch as a new permanent wellbeing destination at Selfridges London.
The bar will be a place for visitors to explore more than 250 of the latest and best products in wellbeing innovation, ranging from gut health to hormones, hangover cures and sleep hacking.
The destination will be anchored by a new energy-lifting bar concept brought by JENKI, introducing a menu of matcha and alternative drinks that reimagine drinking culture.