The legal vagueness surrounding CBD is gradually resolving in France. The Court of Cassation recently rendered a judgment in the context of an appeal concerning the legality of the sale of CBD-based products in a specialist store in Dijon. (French read only: Arrêt n°655 du 4 juin 2021 (21-81.656) – Cour de cassation – Assemblée plénière – ECLI:FR:CCASS:2021:AP00 | Cour de cassation)
While the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) established last November that France could not prohibit this sale because CBD is a ‘non-narcotic’ product and could thus move freely in the European common market, the decision of the highest French court was eagerly awaited.
The French court, however, took a different approach. Where the CJEU judgement was structured around the level of THC the CBD products contain to decide whether or not a product is narcotic, the Court of Cassation developed another argument. Based on the French decree of August 22, 1990, it established that CBD shoots can be authorized for sale if they are of a certain variety: cannabis Sativa L. This alone will be authorized for marketing. A nuance, however: the Court of Cassation specified that it would render a decision “general” which could set a precedent on the marketing of products containing CBD later this week.