Big news for the hemp and CBD sector in Europe! The European Union’s highest court last week ruled that cannabidiol (CBD) is not a narcotic and therefore falls under EU law on the free movement of goods among member states.
The landmark decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) reads that hemp-derived CBD is not a narcotic drug because “it does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health.”
The ruling, which is expected to give the hemp and CBD industries throughout Europe a boost, extends the principle of free movement of goods within the EU to CBD products produced legally. In short, it means that EU member states cannot ban the sale of CBD when they’re produced and legally available in another member state.
A monumental ruling
The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), which represents the common interests of parties within the hemp industry, praised the court’s monumental ruling.
“We truly hope that the position of the Court of Justice will set an example, and that the European Commission will review its preliminary conclusion on the status of natural CBD accordingly.”
Country bans contradicting European laws
The court ruling came in a French case against Czech company KanaVape, which sold CBD extracted from the whole hemp plant. Under French law, only hemp fiber and seeds, not the plant’s flowers, can be used for the commercial production of products. However, the court determined that the French ban on the marketing of hemp-based CBD contradicted European laws on the free movement of goods.
“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 member states, can be adopted only if that risk appears sufficiently established,” the EU Justice Court ruled.
The highest court based its judgment on references to two international conventions that govern global drug control and national drug laws: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Neither specifically mention CBD.
Hemp and CBD advocates believe the ruling marks a turning point for the future of the industry, as well as for its entrepreneurs, operators and investors.
“If the hemp industry keeps being proactive and comes up with safety assessments and standards, achieved by the EIHA Novel Food Joint Application, then the products will be legally marketable all over Europe, latest in three years,” said Daniel Kruse, EIHA President. “The market growth will be extremely significant.”
In recent years, there has been a marked growth in the use of hemp CBD oils, topicals, and other products by people seeking the hemp cannabinoid’s natural wellness properties.