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Friday, March 31, 2023

France moves to start growing medical cannabis

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March 1st may not go down in history as a revolutionary date in France — like, say, July preparations like the Bastille or Independence Day — but it will still be an important day in the world of cannabis.

French Government Finally saw the light and announced that medicinal cannabis is here to stay. As a result, they have now approved a decree authorizing the cultivation, manufacture and distribution of medicinal cannabis in the country as of today.

It was a long time coming  given the forward movement of another large economy, Germany, which began this process, albeit a chaotic one, in the spring of 2017. However, many national-level promises later, German confirmation of a future entertainment market (along with Several other EU countries implementing one – see Malta and Luxembourg), not to mention COVID and a national lawsuit that ended up changing EU policy on CBD, French has arrived.

In the future, medical cannabis will be grown in France, along with the creation of a medical supply chain.

Now, as the Germans have already discovered, the real fun begins.

Quill Fromage!

There will likely be all kinds of disagreements about interpretation by an industry that is tired of endless loopholes. There will also be interesting challenges to a clearly written law in favor of the pharmaceutical industry if a medically approved supply chain (EU-GMP) is not established.

Here is the first twist. According to Article 2, production, including the cultivation, manufacture, transportation, import, export, possession, display, possession and use of cannabis in France, remains prohibited unless a medical permit has been specifically issued by the competent authorities – in this National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products.

Look for all the same issues in Germany, plus a few others, as the French are now moving to set up a local medicinal cannabis industry.

This means that the largest Canadian public companies that have not yet done so, will at least establish some kind of foothold in France. The national medical trial started last year as The participants from the companies had to donate medicine and equipment. This also means, no doubt, that there will be market entry by other pharmaceutical companies, if not the rush to create local distribution companies (just as has already happened in Deutschland).

But what all this leaves very unclear, however, is whether the French authorities will continue to accept the cannabis flower as medicine. However, given the language of the decision, specifically “only growers who have contracted to supply their production (to a licensed and approved manufacturer) may grow cannabis plants for the purpose of pharmaceutical manufacturing”, it appears that the flowers may be on their way out. Unless, of course, someone sues first.

What did France get against the cannabis flower?

It seems very clear that whoever writes official French cannabis policy at the moment has failed to get the memo that France just lost a war on the flower front ban in the CBD.

In January, in fact, while trying Establishing the regulatory environment for the CBD market In the wake of the Canavabi case and the European Union’s decision on the matter, the French government was attacked by the country’s highest court (at least temporarily) when the authorities also tried to ban the sale of the CBD flower.

Do not think that such a decision has gone unnoticed in any French federal agency. This is either a neglect or, more realistically, a last-ditch attempt to cut short the floral discussion at the federal level for both THC and CBD.

Don’t expect the industry to shy away from this, especially after it just won so many major wins.

Pharmaceutical interests versus the rest of the industry

This is the thing to remember. The forces summoned against the plant are moving at a steady pace, and this position is increasingly at odds with the court’s challenges. Such legal confrontations are likely to be necessary everywhere, and France has, so far, been one of the prime examples of this, and at the level of the European Union.

This beats the record, so far, for other challenges Launched from other sovereign countries in the block. Witness the failed attempts of the Spanish cannabis club industry last year on the same level as nosebleeds. In fact, so far, the Spanish industry (in direct comparison) has not succeeded legally Even in the federation. Perhaps, unlike the French, the Spaniards actually tried to cut off the entire recreational discussion by (so far) allowing a limited number of farming licenses.

Indeed, this is the strategy that Germany tried to pursue—and it ended up with large Canadian public corporations instead, not to mention a new government that was essentially forced to press ahead with recreational reform, no matter how slow it slowed.

It is not clear who will move into this slot in France, but with farming traces now well established in other EU countries (including Portugal, Denmark and Deutschland) It is highly unlikely that these people will focus on local agriculture in France in the same way they were in 2017.

This is also what the French government intended. European leaders and regulators do not yet see cannabis as economic development.

However, as history (including in France) has long taught us, incremental moves rarely persist in the face of the dam’s overwhelming political, medical, and social transformation for long.

In other words, this development, no matter how late, may not be the storming of the Bastille, but perhaps the powder keg will eventually light up.

Vive revolution hemp!

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