As Hemp Industry Daily reports this could be the make or break moment for the EU’s hemp industry
Five judges on the European Union’s top court in Luxembourg are set to rule on the legality of France’s ban on hemp-derived CBD – and potentially upend the future of Europe’s hemp industry in the process.
Thursday’s ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union on the so-called Kanavape case is one of the most highly anticipated decisions for Europe’s CBD industry. It sets the stage for the European Commission to take a final stance on whether flower-derived CBD should be regulated as a narcotic, and it comes two weeks before a December vote by the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs on the way cannabis and related substances are scheduled in two international narcotics treaties.
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Background on the Kanavape Case
THE European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has submitted its first Novel Food application in anticipation of a ruling in favour of CBD in the KanaVape court case.
Lorenza Romanese, Managing Director, of EIHA, told BusinessCann it believes that an imminent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on the six-year-old French case will clear the way for CBD to be traded as a food in Europe.
This follows the European Commission’s U-Turn in July, when it said it no longer considers CBD as a food – rather, a narcotic drug – in a move which could shut down the thriving continental industry and impact millions of consumers.
She said:“We submitted an application for Novel Food authorisation for a CBD isolate on behalf of our members two weeks ago.
“We believe the ruling of the French Advocate General in the KanaVape case will be upheld by the European Court of Justice and this will allow for the free exchange of hemp-derived CBD products across Europe.
“In the hierarchy of European law-making, the ECJ has primacy over the European Commission and if it supports the ruling of the French judge, CBD will revert back to the status of a Novel Food in Europe.”
Kanavape is both the story of the formidable entrepreneurial hemp seed that France could represent and the failure of a country to emerge from the prohibitionist dogmatism of cannabis.
In 2014, two French entrepreneurs released the first electronic cigarette with cannabidiol (CBD) . If it had been extracted from hops, Kanavape would likely have gone unnoticed by authorities. But now, CBD is wrong to be extracted from hemp. The Order of Pharmacists attacks, Marisol Touraine gets involved. Kanavape is being prosecuted for several offenses, including drug law.
Sentenced at first instance , the pioneers appealed. The Court of Aix decides to accede positively to the preliminary question asked by Me Ingrid Metton, lawyer of one of the two founders. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will therefore have to decide before the French justice can do so. The CJEU will notably be responsible for ruling on the compliance of French law on CBD with the principle of free movement of goods.
The decision is a sword of Damocles above the interpretations of the MILDECA and the DACG , which both interpret French law in a very narrow way and believe that the hemp flower can neither be sold in France, nor worked, by example to extract CBD, even though CBD is legal in France. A puzzle that has engulfed several hundred companies that already sell CBD products. And if many physical stores have been raided , with sometimes heavy exits for entrepreneurs, online sales sites and CBD flower delivery services work quietly, and work a lot.
Liberation tells us that the Kanavape trial at the CJEU will be held today. The CJEU’s ruling could free many entrepreneurs. Otherwise, the information mission launched by the deputy Jean-Baptiste Moreau will endeavor to open up the possibilities, within a longer period. The CJEU will render its decision on March 31, 2020. The Aix Court of Appeal will then take control of the case.
(3)Cannabis Legal Regulatory Update September December