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France should establish its own CBD production industry, says MP

Hemp and CBD is ‘just a crop like any other’ and needs a ‘precise legal framework’ to enable producers to seize the ‘interesting economic opportunity’

CBD and THC cannabis oils, pills and lotion on fabric with chemical structure on blackboard

CBD should have its own industry in France, an MP has said Pic: Creativan / Shutterstock

France should establish its own CBD industry, an MP has said, after the publication of a report on the issue in May last year, and ahead of this year’s big Paris farming show which starts on Saturday.

Jean-Baptiste Moreau MP, a farmer in Creuse (Nouvelle-Aquitaine) was also the rapporteur of a parliamentary committee report into the use of cannabis in France which was published in May 2021.

He is now calling for the creation of a proper CBD sector in France. CBD (or cannabidiol) is the non-psychotropic form of cannabis, with no, or very little (up to 0.3%) THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). This means it can produce anti-anxiety, relaxant effects, but does not make the user “high”.

The majority of CBD products currently sold in France are imported. 

The legality of CBD has been highly contested in the country in recent months. In the most recent legal action, the government banned the sale of CBD flowers and leaves on December 31, only for the administrative court Conseil d’État to overturn the ban shortly after.

Read more: France's green party calls new CBD ban 'absurd gift to drug dealers' 

Read more: Sale of CBD flowers in France: Court temporarily overturns latest ban 

Mr Moreau has now said that the ban would have achieved nothing, and has argued for a “real cannabis market,” saying that the growing of hemp in France is “a crop just like any other”.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, he said: “There is no health or even safety justification for banning the flower.

“The problem is that there is still legal uncertainty… We need a more precise legal framework if we want investors to create a French industry. In 22 out of 27 [EU] countries, it is very clear; the legislation has evolved. 

“So it's a shame [for France] to stay stuck because of dogma that has nothing to do with reality.”

‘Comfortable revenue’

He said that the sector in France was currently at an “embryonic stage, if that”, and said that “if we want to build a sector, we need a stable legal framework”.

Mr Moreau explained that “many people would like to get involved” in growing the crop, “but are waiting for a legal framework”. This is because the crop “produces relatively comfortable revenue, with much higher margins than a hectare of wheat, for example”.

He said: “Hemp growing [for CBD products] is seen as an interesting economic opportunity [among farmers]. Thanks to our parliamentary mission on the use of cannabis, we have succeeded in establishing a clear distinction between recreational, therapeutic and CBD or well-being use. 

“The hemp plant is already well known to farmers, for textiles and plastics. France was one of the first producers of hemp. CBD is only a product of the hemp flower. So it's a crop like any other.”

He said that working on the parliamentary report into the issue had “convinced him to move towards legislation”.

However, questioned over whether CBD would become a “gateway” to the legalisation of THC products (such as cannabis containing the psychotropic element), Mr Moreau said that the two were “separate” issues.

He said: “I had no opinion when I started work on the report, but it convinced me that we should move towards the legalisation of [CBD]. But they are separate issues. Opponents of CBD today use THC as an excuse and confuse it with recreational [cannabis] use.”

From ‘sneering and sniggering’ to a ‘real market’

Yet, the MP said that the government’s view on the issues had “clearly” evolved in the past few years.

He said: “At the beginning, when I started working on it three years ago, [the attitude] was one of sneering or sniggering, including on the therapeutic side. 

“But little by little, thanks to the work we have done, and the support of certain colleagues such as [Health Minister] Olivier Véran, this mentality has changed. Today, we are moving towards a real cannabis market. It is evolving – not fast enough for my taste – but it is evolving.”

Asked if this year’s Salon de l’Agriculture would have CBD products on sale, Mr Moreau laughed and said: “I don’t think there are any plans, but I’m not sure. What I do know is that today it’s definitely possible to produce and sell it.”

Le Salon de l’Agriculture is also known as the Paris International Agricultural Show. It is taking place at the Porte de Versailles exposition hall in Paris from February 26 to March 6.

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