CBD is not a narcotic ruled EU court

On November 19th the Court of Justice of the European Union made a landmark decision regarding the legality of the cannabis products in the EU.


At the beginning there were two directors of the company importing, marketing and distributing CBD oil packaged in electronic cigarette cartridges. Since only the fiber and the seeds of hemp are legally subject to the commercial under French legislation, the two directors were sentenced by the court in Marseille. However, the Court of Appeal questioned the conformity of French legislation, prohibiting the sale of CBD lawfully produced in other EU country, with the EU laws. Therefore, the Court of Appeal forwarded the case to the EU Court to decide whether the French regulation violates the fundamental EU right of the free movement of goods between EU states.


The EU court in the first step ruled that EU provisions on the free movement of goods are applicable, since the CBD extracted form Cannabis sativa plant in its entirety can not be treated as a “narcotic drug”.


The Courts explanation was that in order to classifying CBD as “narcotic drug” under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs would be against the spirit of the convention, especially against its main objective to protect the health of individuals and mankind. The court further added that according to current state of scientific knowledge, the CBD does not seem to have any harmful effect on human health condition nor any psychotropic effect.


Taking that to consideration the court effectively ruled that CBD is not a “narcotic drug” and therefore the provisions on the free movement of goods within EU outbalance the French legislation.


The EU court decision however does not mean that all EU states must accept the import and free trade of CBD products. The states can still restrict import and export on the goods of public morality, protection of health and life of humans. Such prohibitions however shall not constitute disguised restriction on trade between EU countries. In order to be in accordance with EU law and still impose restrictions on CBD products the French authorities would have to asses available scientific data in order to make sure that there is sufficiently established not only hypothetical risk to public health connected with the CBD consumption.


ARROWS advisory group

Michael Koliha

T: +420 770 115 013
E: koliha@arws.cz

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