The EU’s highest court has ruled that CBD is not a narcotic because “it does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health.”
The ruling comes as the result of a lawsuit in France against a company that makes CBD oil from whole hemp plants. In France, only the fiber and seeds of hemp plants containing less than 0.2% THC can be used commercially.
The EU court ruled that France’s law banning the use of whole plant hemp-derived CBD went against the EU’s law on the free movement of goods.
“The national court must assess available scientific data in order to make sure that the real risk to public health alleged does not appear to be based on purely hypothetical considerations,” the court ruled.
“A decision to prohibit the marketing of CBD, which indeed constitutes the most restrictive obstacle to trade in products lawfully manufactured and marketed in other [EU] member states, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established,” the court wrote.
While individual countries can ban the free movement of goods for things like narcotic drugs, the court’s ruling means that those rules don’t apply to CBD.
Plus, as the court cited in their ruling, France has not banned synthetic CBD, which has the same properties as plant-derived CBD—making the prohibition of plant-derived CBD inconsistent.
The court’s decision could potentially open up the legal CBD market in Europe. Many CBD products currently exist in the grey market under rules that allow cannabis to be sold for agricultural purposes. Regulations about cannabis edibles and CBD have been stalled and in limbo, but the court’s decision could reopen a pathway to selling CBD edibles as food in Europe.
“With today’s ruling, CBD companies can expect a clearer route to achieving compliance across the EU. The harmonization of cannabinoid regulations could finally become a reality,” wrote the UK-based Association for the Cannabinoid Industry.