Science

‘There will never be a French sector’: CBD farmers knocked out by new regulations

Published this morning in the Official Gazette, the new decree that regulates the status of this legal derivative of cannabis worries producers and farmers who defend the project of a French sector.

The ax fell before the new year. The government decree on the legal framework for products loaded with cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychotropic molecule in cannabis, was published this Friday morning in the Official Gazette. Beyond regulating CBD products such as oils, infusions or cosmetics, the text prohibits the sale of raw flowers or leaves, even if their cultivation is possible. The production must be exported and then processed before returning to French territory. However, according to professionals in the sector, the hemp flower represents today between 50 and 70% of the turnover of retailers, not to mention the 3,000 tobacconists that sell it.

What cut the flower under the feet of French farmers who have embarked on the CBD. Because if France is the leading European producer of industrial hemp for the construction and agri-food markets, some producers also grow “light” cannabis, at the risk of being victims of legal action. For Jouany Chatoux, farmer-breeder from Creuse and pioneer of “light” cannabis cultivation, this new decree buries any project in the French sector.

What will this decree change for farmers?

At the agricultural level, they are going to tie us hand and foot. It will not be profitable for us. We will not have a choice of varieties, cuttings will be prohibited and to buy seeds we will be obliged to have a contract with an extractor. It goes back to the days of collective farms – no entrepreneurial freedom, nothing. Farmers will make their land available and we will strip them of what they harvest. The profession has been fighting for thirty years to explode in a short circuit and there they will prohibit us from transforming this product, selling it and thus adding value. The sector is not yet created that we are already removing our tool. There will never be an organic sector, never a terroir and certainly no French sector because we will never be competitive against European neighbors. We are in the market for molecules and no longer in an agricultural market. When recreational cannabis arrives in five years, we will not have an agricultural sector capable of responding. Only the big operators will drive this in the construction industry.

What does the ban on the sale of cannabis flowers represent for your industry?

The sale of the raw flower, infusions and infusions, represents 50% of our turnover. The number of people who smoke CBD flowers runs into the millions. And they will continue to obtain. With this decree, the state is organizing its own black market. From a legal market with taxation, we go to an illicit market. Without the flower, we will not be able to be competitive with the Eastern countries that have six years in advance and the equipment paid for with subsidies from the European Union. We see it in Italy with the flower but also in the Eastern countries with the extraction. To really structure a French sector, the measures were in the parliamentary report published a year ago.

How will the profession be organized a few hours after the publication of the decree?

It is not a surprise but the State could have waited for January 7 and the decision of the Constitutional Council. The French Association of Cannabinoid Producers (AFPC) has submitted a Priority Constitutional Question and we are waiting. We also appealed against the decree of 90 but with this new text they repealed it so our request failed. But we will consult with the unions and associations and prepare a class action lawsuit. The Union of CBD Professionals, Norml, Professional Hemp Union or L630 should join us. At PSAC, we are hardliners against the state. A common front of unions that demand that this decree, which for us is illegal, be ignored.

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