Tag: France

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When Will France Legalize Cannabis For Adult Use?

Cannabis consumption in France is more common than in many other parts of the world, as demonstrated by recent survey data that was collected and analyzed by the French Observatory of Drugs and Addictive Tendencies. In its most recent survey involving adults aged 18 to 64, the French Observatory of Drugs and Addictive Tendencies found that 10.6% of the survey participants reported having consumed cannabis within the last year. With so many people consuming cannabis in France, it begs the question, when will France pass an adult-use legalization measure?

The same survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Addictive Tendencies, which was conducted in conjunction with the Santé Publique France agency, found that 47.3% of the survey participants reported having consumed cannabis at least once in their lifetime. To put these numbers into perspective, United States survey data indicates that roughly 49% of adults report having consumed cannabis at least once in their lifetime, and roughly 12% report being an annual consumer.

Yet, whereas the U.S. is trending in the right direction when it comes to cannabis reform, the same cannot be said about France. Late last year France lifted a previously implemented ban on CBD products, however, that is clearly not enough. Even with legalization looming across the border in Germany, leaders in France are indicating that they want to take a ‘wait and see’ approach.

Monitoring From Afar

Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach is currently lobbying the European Union to gain approval for Germany to proceed with an adult-use legalization measure that would result in the launch of nationwide legal adult-use cannabis sales. According to recent comments made by Minister Lauterbach, he has received “very good feedback” from the EU and indicated that a formal introduction of a legalization measure will happen very soon.

Many countries around the globe are watching Germany with a very close eye, particularly countries on the European continent. Leadership in the Czech Republic has already indicated that it will try to follow Germany’s lead if/when Germany passes an adult-use legalization measure. Unfortunately, leaders in France appear to be taking a more passive approach.

“France will closely monitor the evolution of the German legislative framework, especially with regard to its potential impact on cross-border regions,” the office of French Health Minister François Braun recently told EURACTIV France. The comments from the French Health Minister do not instill any confidence that France will be legalizing any time soon. If anything, they seem to indicate that increased prohibition enforcement may be on the horizon along the France/Germany border.

Boosting Public Health

Whether international cannabis observers realize it or not, Germany is currently doing a considerable amount of the heavy lifting to legalize cannabis across the European continent. The biggest hurdle to comprehensive continental adult-use reform is the European Union, and if/when Germany can overcome that hurdle, it will have created an adult-use legalization blueprint for other European countries to copy, including France.

With a reported second-highest cannabis consumption rate on the European continent, France’s consumer base is enormous. With some minor exceptions, a vast majority of what France consumers are inhaling and/or ingesting is completely unregulated. That is problematic from a public health standpoint and can be largely mitigated by launching a regulated adult-use industry.

That premise largely serves as the crux of the argument being made right now by Germany’s Health Minister to the EU. It’s an argument that France would be well-served to be on the right side of, and there are calls from within France to do so. The consumption of unregulated cannabis products is a public health concern according to France’s Economic, Social, and Environmental Council. The Council is recommending legalization, and policymakers in France should follow that recommendation as soon as possible.


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Study Finds That Cannabis Use Is Associated With Lower Blood Pressure Levels

A French researcher has concluded that both current and lifetime cannabis use are associated with lower blood pressure levels after assessing the relationship between cannabis use and blood pressure among a population-based cohort of over 91,000 subjects. The research findings were recently published in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports.

The investigator reported: “In adjusted covariates models, lifetime heavy cannabis use was associated with decrease in both SBP [systolic blood pressure], DBP [diastolic blood pressure], and PP [pulse pressure] in both genders, but with a higher effect among women. … Current cannabis use was associated with lower SBP levels in men and in women. Same results were observed for DBP and PP.”

He concluded, “Longitudinal studies are needed in general populations and then in hypertensive patients to highlight the potential lowered BP effect of cannabis in a medical use.”

A 2021 Israeli study of elderly hypertension subjects determined, “Cannabis treatment for three months was associated with a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as heart rate.” A US study published last year in The American Journal of Medicine reported, “Current cannabis use was associated with lower resting heart rate” in middle-aged subjects. The administration of oral CBD extracts has also been associated with reduced blood pressure levels in healthy volunteers.

Numerous other studies have also demonstrated the ability of cannabinoids to influence blood pressure and other cardiovascular responses, though many of these effects are short-term in duration and subjects typically become tolerant to some of them (e.g., tachycardia). According to a literature review published in the journal Neuropharmacology: “The endocannabinergic system plays an important cardiovascular regulatory role not only in pathophysiological conditions associated with excessive hypotension but also in hypertension. Thus, the pharmacological manipulation of this system may offer novel therapeutic approaches in a variety of cardiovascular disorders.”

Full text of the study, “Association between cannabis use and blood pressure levels according to comorbidities and socioeconomic status,” appears in Nature: Scientific Reports. Additional information on cannabinoids and blood pressure regulation is available from NORML’s publicationClinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids.


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France Council Proposes Cannabis Legalization To Boost Public Health

France is one of the most popular places for cannabis consumption on the entire planet, which may shock some people given the fact that France’s public cannabis policies are not as favorable as policies in many other countries, including countries in Europe. However, France has one of the highest cannabis consumption rates on earth. Per data from 2020, 46% of adults in France have tried cannabis at least once, with 11% consuming cannabis annually. Cannabis remains illegal in France with very few exceptions, and the consumption of unregulated cannabis products is a public health concern according to the nation’s Economic, Social and Environmental Council. That public health concern is why they are now recommending that France legalize cannabis for adult use.

The Economic, Social and Environmental Council is chaired by Jean-François Naton, CGT confederal adviser, and its recommendation to pass an adult-use legalization measure comes after a year of the entity conducting research. The research reportedly involved extensive interviews, including in the southern region of France where unregulated cannabis activity seems to be particularly popular. The Council’s recommendation is not legally binding, however, it does make a very compelling argument for legalization, and the theme of the argument seems to be part of a growing trend on the continent.

Ending Prohibition For Public Health Reasons

A very interesting public policy evolution is underway on the European continent, whether many people realize it or not. For several decades prohibition was ‘justified’ by its supporters via arguments that ‘cannabis use was bad for public health.’ The whole reefer madness movement that yielded cannabis prohibition was largely predicated on claims that ‘cannabis use harmed mental health, made people lazy, and caused people to exhibit extreme behavior and poor decision-making.’

Of course, all of those reefer madness talking points have since proven to be false and/or overblown, and according to the arguments currently being made by a growing number of public health leaders in Europe, it’s cannabis prohibition that is the true danger to public health for various reasons. For example, one of the main arguments being made by the Council in France is that a regulated industry would help prevent sales to minors since part of the Council’s proposal is to prohibit such sales, in addition to banning cannabis advertising.

Some cannabis opponents have scoffed at the claim that a regulated industry would reduce youth consumption rates, with those same opponents often trying to simultaneously make the claim that legalization would create a doomsday scenario for youth consumption. Unfortunately for those opponents, there is now data from legal jurisdictions that demonstrates what actually happens to youth consumption in a regulated system.

Per government data from the Oregon Health Authority (USA), not only was there no spike in youth consumption following the launch of legal adult-use sales and outright possession legalization in 2015; youth consumption rates actually went down from 2012 to 2018 in Oregon. A broader study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University, which involved consumption survey data from over 800,000 respondents in U.S. states where cannabis sales were permitted, also found no spike in youth cannabis usage rates. A study in 2021 conducted by researchers in Canada found ‘no significant differences’ in cannabis consumption rates before and after cannabis legalization in Canada. As of May 2022, data out of Uruguay also demonstrated no sustained changes in youth consumption rates post-legalization.

‘The German Model’

Days ago a report surfaced regarding the ongoing legalization effort in Germany, with possible movement occurring in the next two months. According to the report, Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach believes that a formal introduction of an adult-use legalization measure will happen ‘in the first quarter of 2023’ and that he ‘has no reason to doubt this schedule.’ If that timeline proves to be accurate, 2023 could be a very big year for cannabis reform in Europe.

At the heart of the Health Minister’s plan for legalization in Germany is a ‘legalization to improve public health’ strategy. Much like what is being recommended in France, the Minister is making the case that a regulated cannabis industry is better for overall public health compared to cannabis prohibition. That argument could prove to be effective at both winning the approval of the public as well as the approval of the European Union. It’s worth noting that if the European Union gives its approval to Germany, that is not to say that the European Union is pro-legalization per se, but rather, that the European Union is not going to stand in the way of legalization proceeding in Germany.

The reasoning behind the EU refraining from stepping in would be that while treaty provisions limit adult-use cannabis commerce, other provisions also permit individual nations to pursue public health strategies that make sense for the particular nation. By framing legalization as a public health matter versus an economic one, as Germany is currently doing, it could put countries on a stronger legal foundation if/when they pursue legalization. Germany could quite possibly be building the blueprint for modern national adult-use legalization in Europe, and France is one of the many countries that could benefit from copying such a model.


Eiffel Tower in Paris France

France Lifts Ban On CBD Product Sales

Roughly one year ago, on December 30, 2021 the government in France issued a ban on the sales of CBD products. CBD products have increased in popularity and availability throughout Europe in recent years, including in France.

Due to ongoing cannabis stigma, some lawmakers and regulators have portrayed CBD as being harmful, and they seem to have dusted off a number of reefer madness talking points that used to be applied to cannabis in general and are now revamping them to be more narrowly focused on CBD.

That stigma and ongoing anti-cannabis rhetoric by opponents has led to CBD crackdowns in some parts of the world. France’s ban was effectively short lived, as the ban was initially put on hold in January 2022 and is now being lifted altogether. Per Le Parisien:

The good news is confirmed for CBD sellers. Temporarily suspended last January, the ban on the sale in the raw state of the flowers and leaves of certain varieties of cannabis is now officially lifted, according to a decision of the Council of State on Wednesday , which “cancels the decree of December 30 2021 prohibiting the sale of cannabis flowers and leaves with a THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) level of less than 0.3%”.

The institution “notes that CBD (cannabidiol), which has no psychotropic effect and does not cause addiction, cannot be considered a narcotic product”.

The Council of State “retains that it has not been established that the consumption of the flowers and leaves of these varieties of cannabis with a low level of THC would involve risks for public health. It therefore considers illegal the general and absolute prohibition of their marketing”.

Another example of a looming CBD crackdown can be found in Hong Kong where a complete CBD ban is going into effect in 2023. Unlike France, leaders in Hong Kong have made it clear that they will not be reversing course and that the ban will indeed go into effect and anyone caught violating the new ban will receive years in prison.

France’s lifting of the previous CBD ban is certainly welcomed news, however, the European nation still has a long way to go when it comes to improving cannabis policy. Cannabis consumption is very popular in France, and cannabis prohibition is a failed public policy. It’s beyond time that France got completely on the right side of history when it comes to cannabis laws.


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Study Finds Cannabis Inversely Associated With Hypertension In HCV Patients

We previously reported that a peer reviewed study in France determined that medical cannabis use was associated with a lower BMI in patients diagnosed with hepatitis C (HCV). A separate study from France also found that cannabis is inversely associated with obesity among HCV patients.

It is estimated that as many as 58 million people suffer from hepatitis C worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 1.1 million deaths occurred in 2019 due to hepatitis B and C, and their effects include ‘liver cancer, cirrhosis, and other conditions caused by chronic viral hepatitis.’

Hepatitis C is spread by contact with contaminated blood, such as from sharing needles or from people using unsterile tattoo equipment. Yet another study in France examined cannabis and HCV, and the results of this latest study indicate that cannabis use is inversely associated with hypertension in HCV patients. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Marseille, France: HCV (Hepatitis C virus)-infected patients who consume cannabis are less likely than non-users to suffer from either hypertension or other metabolic disorders, according to data published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

French researchers assessed the relationship between current and/or lifetime cannabis use and metabolic disorders in a cohort of 6,364 subjects infected with HCV.

Investigators reported, “Former and current cannabis use were both inversely associated with hypertension in both analyses (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 0.74 and 0.45).” They also possessed fewer metabolic disorders (e.g., obesity, diabetes, etc.) than did those with no history of cannabis consumption.

They concluded: “In a large cohort of people with chronic HCV infection living in France, current or former cannabis use was associated with a lower risk of hypertension and a lower number of metabolic disorders. … Future research should also explore the biological mechanisms underlying these potential benefits of cannabis use, and test whether they translate into reduced mortality in this population.”

Prior studies have identified an association between cannabis use and lower rates of diabetes and fatty liver disease in Hep-C infected subjects. Other studies have consistently identified a relationship between marijuana consumption and lower rates of obesity.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use inversely associated with metabolic disorders in Hepatitis C-infected patients,” appears in the Journal of Clinical Medicine. Additional information on cannabis and Hepatitis C is available from NORML. Additional information on cannabis and hypertension is available.


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Study Associates Cannabis Use With Lower BMI Among Those With HIV/HCV

As of 2020, it was estimated that roughly 38.4 million people around the world have HIV. HIV is a very serious health condition that causes AIDS and interferes with the body’s ability to fight against infections.

It is estimated that roughly 58 million people around the globe have hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that can cause the liver to become inflamed, and if not properly treated, hepatitis C can lead to serious liver damage in suffering patients.

Many people that are diagnosed with either HIV or HCV also suffer from the other condition as well. As with virtually every health condition, having a healthy body mass index (BMI) is important. A recent study in France found that medical cannabis use was associated with a lower BMI in patients diagnosed with HIV and HCV. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Marseille, France: People co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C who consume cannabis are at a lower risk of being overweight, according to data published in the journal AIDS Education and Prevention.

French investigators assessed the relationship between cannabis use and body mass index (BMI) in a cohort of 992 HIV/HCV patients. Consistent with prior research, they reported that a history of marijuana use was “inversely associated with BMI.”

Prior studies involving HIV/HCV subjects have also identified a link between cannabis use and a lower risk of diabetesfatty liver disease, and early mortality.

Other case control studies have consistently reported that those with a history of marijuana use are less likely than abstainers to be obese or to suffer from type 2 diabetes.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use as a protective factor against overweight in HIV-hepatitis C virus co-infected people,” appears in AIDS Education and Prevention. Additional information on cannabis and HIV/AIDS is available from NORML.


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Emmanuel Macron’s Left Flank Presses Him On Full Cannabis Reform

31 senators challenged President Macron on the pages of Le Monde last week to implement full cannabis legalization – but what does this really mean for reform in France?

Cannabis usually exists, still, in the political fault lines, just about everywhere.

That is certainly true in France at the moment. Last Monday, thirty-one federal French senators published a letter in Le Monde, one of the most popular newspapers in France, calling for full legalization. Decrim, as they argued, is a cynical half step.

It is a fascinating development – and for several reasons – both about and beyond the legalization discussion specifically. On the cannabis front, it comes during the first year of France’s much delayed medical trial. It is also happening in a country which has already helped set European cannabis policy – on CBD.

Apart from this, however, the political impetus behind this declaration is absolutely a challenge to the status quo – and from a place that sitting president Emmanuel Macron cannot ignore. Namely, despite the fact that he has repeatedly said he would never implement recreational reform, this new challenge is coming from a group he needs to stave off the extreme right wing – both of whom are anti Europe and cannabis – after he lost a majority in Parliament this summer.

Despite the fact that Macron has repeatedly shown that he is a politician who can only be moved by increments, the fact that this bloc has also called for him to speed up, rather than incrementally implement the cannabis reform process says a great deal about the political climate locally, beyond just cannabis reform.

France’s Role in the European Cannabis Bloc

Right now, Germany is very publicly debating how it might implement recreational cannabis reform without violating the international treaties on drug control that, of course, also cover cannabis. The one that is most mentioned in Europe is the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is why three countries (so far) – namely Germany, Luxembourg, and Malta – have begun to meet on a multilateral basis to discuss how to proceed.

France as the bloc’s second largest economy, no doubt, should join that table. And Macron, as a committed pro EU politician, is going to have little wiggle room to completely ignore this development. This will be even more true as other countries begin to join this conversation – from Portugal and Italy to Greece and Spain beyond that.

One thing is for sure. France may not be on the leading edge of the revolution, but it is certainly joining the party – despite the wishes of its top politician.


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French Senators Tout Benefits Of Cannabis Legalization

France, like every other country on planet earth, is home to adult-use cannabis consumers and medical cannabis patients. Whether the government in France regulates cannabis or not, people are still going to consume it. That is a point that is not lost on a group of Senators in France who recently published an op-ed in Le Monde calling for national legalization.

The op-ed’s text was provided by ‘a collective of 31 senators from the Socialist, Ecologist and Republican group, led by Gilbert-Luc Devinaz’ according to the subheadline of the article. The goal of the op-ed, as described in the same subheadline, is ‘to launch a consultation process in order to table a bill to legalize cannabis.’

What Legalization Provisions Are The Senators Calling For?

The Senators started their op-ed by citing statistics from a National Assembly ‘Recreational Cannabis Progress Report‘ regarding the rate of cannabis use in France. The report estimates that nearly 18 million people in France have tried cannabis at least once in their lives and that roughly 1.5 million people in France use cannabis ‘regularly.’ For reference, France is home to roughly 67 million people.

“In this context, we must get out of the lax trial regularly made to the proponents of an evolution of the legal framework. We, socialist senators, face reality: the situation is untenable. The French are ready to debate the consumption of so-called recreational cannabis.” the op-ed stated (translated from French to English).

The Senators describe prohibition as being “ineffective, inefficient and unjust.” The main crux of their proposal seems to hinge on regulating cannabis products to reduce the size and influence of the unregulated market and to help mitigate issues related to youth consumption. The op-ed briefly discussed decriminalization prior to declaring it insufficient and instead called for outright legalization.

Mounting Pressure Along The Border

For many years the cannabis reform discussion in France largely took place inside a political vacuum. Those days are long gone. Multiple countries that share a border with France are actively pursuing meaningful cannabis reform, not the least of which is Germany. Lawmakers in France are facing the inevitable – pursue domestic cannabis reform measures or watch cannabis consumers go from France to Germany to make their legal cannabis purchases and miss out on the economic benefits that come with it.

Lawmakers in France would be wise to get things moving in a swift manner, as the country is already well behind Germany and other nations when it comes to crafting cannabis policies and industry regulations. Just as the Senators that published the op-ed pointed out, people are going to consume cannabis in France regardless of what the laws are.

The only real question that remains is whether their consumer and patient dollars will go into a regulated system in France or not, and the only way that consumers will ever make legal purchases in France is if lawmakers step up. If they choose to keep dragging their feet, France will likely miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


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CBD Use Associated With Reduced Tobacco Intake

A question has perplexed cannabis advocates since the dawn of cannabis prohibition – why is tobacco legal and cannabis illegal given how much more harmful tobacco is compared to cannabis?

Worldwide, tobacco use is responsible for killing over 7 million people every year. However, cannabinoids alone have never killed anyone in humanity’s entire recorded history.

This is not to villanize people that consume tobacco. Many tobacco users are victims of deceptive marketing practices and historically loose tobacco industry regulations. It’s also a personal choice as long as second-hand smoke exposure is mitigated.

With that being said, given how many people die annually from tobacco use and that the same cannot be said about cannabis, the findings of a new study demonstrating that CBD may be able to help reduce tobacco intake is a great thing. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Paris, France: Vaporizing a liquid formulation of CBD is associated with reduced cannabis/tobacco intake, according to data published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.

A team of French investigators assessed the impact of vaporized CBD on daily cannabis consumption patterns in a cohort of 20 daily consumers. Nearly all of the subjects in the study smoked cannabis mixed with tobacco in joints. Prior studies have previously demonstrated that CBD administration mitigates smoker’s desire for tobacco cigarettes.

Of the nine patients who completed the 12-week trial, six of them reduced their daily consumption of cannabis/tobacco joints by 50 percent.

Authors concluded: “This research provides evidence in favor of the use of CBD in CUD [patients with cannabis use disorder] … and illustrates the interest of proposing an addictological intervention targeting at the same time tobacco and cannabis dependence in users who are co-consumers. … A double-blind, randomized, multi-center, placebo-controlled clinical trial is still needed to assess the efficacy of inhaled CBD in CUD.”

CBD consumption has previously been associated with reductions in alcohol intake as well as reductions in cue-induced cravings and anxiety in subjects with a history of heroin use.

Full text of the study, “Efficacy of inhaled cannabidiol in cannabis use disorder: the pilot study Cannavap,” appears in Frontiers in Psychiatry.

CBD, France, tobacco

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Cannabis Inversely Associated With Obesity In Hepatitis C Patients

It is estimated that as many as 58 million people suffer from hepatitis C worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 1.1 million deaths occurred in 2019 due to hepatitis B and C, and their effects include ‘liver cancer, cirrhosis, and other conditions caused by chronic viral hepatitis.’

Hepatitis C is spread by contact with contaminated blood, such as from sharing needles or from people using unsterile tattoo equipment. Researchers in France recently examined the effects of cannabis use among hepatitis C patients. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Paris, France: Cannabis use is inversely associated with obesity in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, according to data published in the Journal of Cannabis Research.

A team of French researchers assessed the relationship between lifetime cannabis use and obesity in a cohort of over 6,300 HCV patients.

Authors reported, “[F]ormer and, to a greater extent, current cannabis use were consistently associated with smaller waist circumference, lower BMI, and lower risks of overweight, obesity, and central obesity in patients with chronic HCV infection. … To our knowledge, this is the first time that such associations have been highlighted for HCV-infected patients.”

The study’s findings are consistent with those of analyses of other cohorts – such as those herehere, and here – reporting that marijuana use is typically associated with lower BMI and with lower rates of obesity.

Full text of the study, “Cannabis use as a factor of lower corpulence in hepatitis C-infected patients: Results from the ANRS C022 Hepather cohort,” is available in the Journal of Cannabis Research. Additional information on cannabis and HCV is available from NORML.


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French Presidential Candidate Comes Out Against Cannabis Legalization

According to data from 2019 France was tied with Spain for the greatest cannabis consumption rate per country in Europe. It is estimated that roughly 11% of adults in France consume cannabis at least once a year.

Despite being a co-continental leader in cannabis consumption, France’s cannabis policies lag behind those of many of its European counterparts.

It wasn’t until the beginning of this month that France legalized commercial medical cannabis production, and it did so with seemingly little political fanfare.

Whereas some countries in Europe have either legalized cannabis nationally for adult-use (Malta) or launched adult-use legalization pilot programs (Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark), or at the very least are trending in that direction (Germany, Luxembourg, Italy), France doesn’t appear to be moving towards ending prohibition any time soon.

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen seems to be OK with the status quo, recently indicating that she is “completely against” legalizing cannabis, as seen in this tweet that was included in a recent Marijuana Moment newsletter:

If someone were to rely on Le Pen’s word alone, cannabis legalization sounds like a very scary thing. However, Le Pen’s claims are easily refuted by looking no further than the three countries that have legalized cannabis for adult use at a national level.

Uruguay legalized cannabis for adult use the better part of a decade ago, and the sky is still intact over Uruguay. Canada legalized cannabis for adult use in 2018, and there has been no brain damage epidemic outbreak due to cannabis the last time that I checked.

Malta has also now legalized cannabis for adult use, and on the European continent no less, although sales are still prohibited unlike in Uruguay and Canada.

Regardless, a cannabis doomsday scenario has yet to materialize in Malta so far, and the same would be true in France if/when their lawmakers finally decide to get on the right side of history and end cannabis prohibition. Needless to say, if you are a cannabis advocate in France do not vote for Marine Le Pen.


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Medical Cannabis Production Becomes Legal In France

The decree, published in the Official Journal on February 18 will enter into force as of March 1

Quite quietly, France is moving into the medical cannabis discussion. As of March 1, it will be legal to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes. The change in the law was published in the official government register, the Official Journal, several weeks ago and comes into force this week.

France has been slowly dipping its toe into the entire discussion, dragged less by governmental enthusiasm for the sector much less reform, and more by political pressure. In addition to this, the legal discussion in France has been so fraught that case law, namely the Kanavape case, opened up the discussion on an EU level.

That said, there is clearly a long way to go before the industry comes anywhere close to normalizing here. The decree itself, according to French legal experts, is just as flawed as the recent decree to begin sales of cannabis products but banned cannabis flower. Last month, the Conseil d’Etat the country’s highest administrative court, put a temporary stay on the prohibition of hemp flowers.

On top of this, there is no guarantee that the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM, or the French FDA), may not want a competitive market. There is precedent for this in Europe. In Germany, BfArM, the equivalent in ANSM here, put out a competitive bid for the cultivation of medical cannabis in the country, limited to just three companies and excluding German firms. They also created a monopoly on the distribution of these flowers – giving only one German distributor, based in Frankfurt, the right to distribute the same.

There is no reason that the French government will be any more interested in promoting a robust, and competitive industry by opening the doors to wider cultivation.

ANSM has been running a highly limited medical cannabis program for a year that continues until March of next year. External producers are required to provide cannabis flower, products, and associated products, like vapes, for free. According to the agency, it has set up a temporary scientific committee to define the specifications for national medical cannabis medicines. The group consists of 11 members, drawn from ministries including the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment and the Conseil Order of Pharmacists.

France may indeed be moving with the rest of Europe if not the world to finally accept the medical efficacy of the drug. That said, recreational reform is still a long way off here, despite high levels of illicit consumption. The lower house of the French Parliament rejected a bill last month that introduced the idea of a controlled adult-use market.

Be sure to keep up to date with the rolling cannabis reform efforts now afoot across Europe. Book your tickets to the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference events in Barcelona, Berlin, and Zurich!


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