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.
Italy passes decree that could put CBD farmers at risk of jail
Marco Perduca of Associazione Luca Coscioni says the decree puts Italy’s entire supply chain at risk.
Italy has passed a decree that prohibits the cultivation of CBD crops without authorisation from the country’s Ministry of Health.
CBD cultivation has been legal in Italy since 2016 after a unanimous vote in parliament. However, this month the Conference of State and Regions adopted a Ministerial Decree which now prohibits the crop’s cultivation.
Farmers, which until have been allowed to grow crops containing a limit of 0.2 to 0.5 per cent THC, will only be able to cultivate hemp crops unless given authorisation from the Ministry of Health. The ruling mirrors the current law surrounding the cultivation of higher THC cannabis crops for medical purposes.
With CBD available in shops across the country, the move is one in complete contrast to the direction of the rest of Europe, bar France, which recently passed a decree banning the sale of CBD flowers to consumers.
It will also put the entirety of Italy’s CBD supply chain at risk, says president of Italy’s cannabis referendum committee ReferendumCannabis and co-founder of Associazione Luca Coscioni, Marco Perduca.
Speaking to Cannabis Wealth, Perduca commented: “This has always been in the back of the centre right’s mind.
“The Ministerial Decree which is another vehicle to make law – even if it’s more on the administrative rather than and the lawmaking level – in which they re-included plans for reducing CBD under the regular rules set by the text on all drugs.”
“This will imply for those already in the business and the newcomers, to seek a permit from the Ministry of Health, which per se will not be a problem. But why would you have to ask, or re-ask permission for a well-established enterprise, to a ministry that has nothing to do with the oils, soaps and edibles that are produced using some CBD and a very minimal percentage of THC?”
Perduca highlights a debate is set with the president of the Agriculture Committee on the matter.
“It’s an interpretation of the law. It is not opinion-makers that make interpretations of the law – it is a judge. So, if you have the police that come to your shop, or to your house or to your farm and would like to know more on what you are producing or selling, they can confiscate everything and block your activity until further notice.
“This is an additional burden on an already not-working system of justice. It is also a sort of CBD scare that has been launched against in particular shops and entrepreneurs – about 10,000 people that work in 3000 Small and Medium Enterprises which generate around €40m per year.
“It’s an important part of our agricultural economy, and it’s mainly young people that invest in these kinds of enterprises.’
Together with Leonardo Fiorentini, member of Forum Droghe, Perduca stated that the discussion of the decree took place days following the first meeting between the Ministry of Health and the country’s cannabis patient associations to discuss supply requirements.
They stated: “The version in front of the delegates risks canceling, if not sending to jail, the entire cannabis light [CBD] sector in Italy…
“The World Health Organization has repeatedly recommended the exclusion of the properties of CBD from banned substances, some of these were collected by the UN Drugs Commission which in December 2020 canceled cannabis from the IV table of the 1961 Convention with a vote favourable of Italy.
“To insert this submission of production to the rules of 309/90 with a Ministerial Decree, as well as going against common sense, is legally very questionable. Certainly, we need a regulation that clarifies what it can be cultivated and how to guarantee the quantity and quality of therapeutic cannabinoids necessary to guarantee the therapeutic plans of tens of thousands of people: products with a certain threshold of CBD must be treated as drugs, those below as supplements, as is already the case today for many other substances also in other EU states.
“We appeal to the competent Ministers to amend the Decree to art. 1 paragraph 4. If not, we will organize a coordinated response between patients and entrepreneurs to definitively send anti-scientific and ideological measures to the attic.” [translated from Google]
CBD-brand MYO launches in Boots across the UK
MYO will be available in 838 Boots stores across the country.
CBD-brand MYO has hit a major milestone in its journey with a new partnership that will see its products stocked in the leading UK health and beauty retailer’s stores.
Boots will stock MYO‘s Plant Proteins in 838 stores, branched-chain amino acids and essential amino acids in up to 574 stores, and functional sprays in 522 stores.
MYO, acquired by global vertically integrated wellness platform Yooma Wellness in March 2021, is one of the few brands whose CBD products have passed the UK Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) validation assessment.
James Lawson Baker, Founder of MYO Plant Nutrition, commented: “This is a major milestone for MYO and we are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Boots, the leading health and beauty retailer in the UK.
“A listing of this size gives the brand enormous national exposure and deepens our footprint within mainstream UK retail.
“The listing will support MYO in making plant-based active nutrition and wellness products mainstream and accessible.
“The partnership is a testament to the high-quality product and brand offering that we have built over the past year. We look forward to building our credibility amongst Boots’ customers going forward.”
The product listing with Boots adds to its list of retail chains where its products are available, including Holland & Barrett, Selfridges, Lloyds Pharmacy and Amazon.
Jordan Greenberg, CEO of Yooma, commented: “MYO Plant Nutrition is an exceptional example of how Yooma’s buy-and-build strategy creates shareholder value.
“MYO continues to surpass expectations with its increased availability in UK’s most reputable retailers and it has the honour of being known as one of the few brands to have passed the FSA’s validation assessment.”
British Cannabis celebrate products receiving confirmation from FSA
British Cannabis is dedicated to ensuring the long-term continuity of cannabis-based food supplements in the UK
British Cannabis products receive confirmation of being the first Cannabis-derived CBD oils and supplements set to remain on the market
British Cannabis™, registered as CBD Health Foods Ltd, is delighted to become the first company to receive confirmation from the Food Standards Agency UK (FSA). that its cannabis-derived products will remain on the market.
On Thursday 13th January 2022, the FSA confirmed via emails to British Cannabis CEO, Thomas Whettem, that the evidence submitted in support of 15 dossiers, spanning over 3,000 products “has been checked and is sufficient” and that “the public list will be amended to reflect these changes”.
Meanwhile, it is widely speculated that an as-yet-undetermined number of other products, made by other manufacturers, will be removed from shelves by Trading Standards. This process looks set to begin once the FSA public lists are updated later in 2022.
British Cannabis products
Robert Jappie, the partner at legal firm Ince and preeminent cannabis industry lawyer, remarked at the news: “I’m delighted that British Cannabis has received a positive response from the FSA to their Novel Food submission. Admission of British Cannabis’ products to the compliance registers confirms the company’s position at the forefront of the U.K. CBD industry. Novel Food compliance should now provide a platform for the sector to build on its fantastic success to date.”
Over the course of 18 months and a multi-million-pound investment, British Cannabis, whose brands are stocked across many pharmacies and retailers internationally, have dedicated themselves to ensuring the long-term continuity of all-natural, cannabis-based food supplements in the UK. This is for the reassurance of their own consumers and of all the customers whose brands are powered by British Cannabis.
Making this achievement of particular note is the fact that British Cannabis products are among the few remaining on the market to use ‘100 per cent Cannabis sativa L.”, naturally derived formulas, thus they contain the hundreds of clinically proven plant phytochemicals found in cannabis, whilst also being 0 per cent THC, meaning that they will not cause a “high”. Their food supplements (CBD oils, capsules etc.) are also free from other controlled cannabinoids.
British Cannabis’ CEO, Thomas Whettem, reacted shortly after hearing the great news: “Confirmation directly from the Food Standards Agency, that British Cannabis will be the first manufacturer In the world to have cannabis-derived consumer products ratified by the UK government, is yet another monumental breakthrough in our history. For years we have not just pioneered change in this industry but strived to set the bar when it comes to compliance, safety and the simple dedication to excellence we have had since day one.”
British Cannabis’ Managing Director, David Ralson, commented on this landmark news: “This is a huge milestone for our business and the Cannabis industry as a whole. I would firstly like to pay testimony to our staff, who over the past 6 years have endeavoured to make British Cannabis the leading legal-cannabis experts in our sector and this exemplifies our phrase ‘’We Know More Because We Do More’’.
We have always believed in wholly cannabis-derived, natural products and obtaining the highest quality standards. This is underpinned by our own retail brands, which to date have received over 4,200 Trustpilot reviews with a 5-Star rating.
This also paves the way for our trusted white label partners brands, who continue to work with us, to also remain on the UK market. This allows our business and its compliant partners to continue to grow in what is going to be a very exciting year indeed.”
At the time of release, the Novel Foods public lists have yet to be updated.