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In a landmark case for CBD products, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) threw out a ban by French authorities, calling their specific ban on certain CBD products illegal.

The ECJ ruling is legally binding in all member states and stated on record that certain cannabidiol products do not have a “negative effect on human health”.

This is the first major international ruling that has overturned a national ban on CBD products and enabled CBD shops that had faced legal action to continue to open.


The Case

The ruling, ECJ case C-663/1, concerned the relationship between France’s drug laws and the sale of CBD.

Before this judgement, only CBD that was derived from hemp seeds and fibres, with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of less than 0.2 per cent (in the plant, not the CBD product).

Very little CBD can be found in the fibre and seeds, so in some cases, hemp oil and vape juice producers using CBD were imported from the Czech Republic, another EU country, that used the whole of the Sativa plant. In any case, the level of THC was lower than the legal limit.

Regardless, because of its origin, a Marsailles court ruled that an e-cigarette that contained CBD was illegal and gave the owners of the company suspended prison sentences.

They soon appealed, citing EU law, and the ECJ confirmed that unless it can be proven that CBD that comes from the whole Sativa plant poses its own risks to health, which the French government failed to do, then it is illegal for them to ban CBD that conforms to EU law.

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