EU Beat France, CBD Legal Throughout EU

In a high court ruling with far-reaching implications about EU governance vs member state law, the EU beat France making CBD legal throughout the EU, and setting a precedent for tons of cases in the future.

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What was the case originally about?

Before we get to the ins and outs of this landmark EU high court ruling, let’s look at the case that forced its way to the top of the EU judicial system. The story starts in 2014 when Sébastien Béguerie and Antonin Cohen were prosecuted under French law for marketing and selling a hemp-derived CBD vape product under the name Kanavape. France has very specific laws regarding the parts of a cannabis plant that can be used (only the fiber and seeds), and the amount of THC that can be in a product. The latter, in fact, is 0% as of 2018, which created an essential ban on CBD oil, since its nearly impossible to create a CBD oil without at least a trace amount of THC. France also doesn’t allow the leaves or flowers of a cannabis plant to be used for preparations of any kind, and the Kanavape product was made from the whole plant.

Béguerie and Cohen were importing and selling a Kanavape product that was made in the Czech Republic. Though this Kanavape product followed all EU mandates concerning the use and sale of CBD products, particularly the parts of the plant used, and a THC content that didn’t exceed .2%, it didn’t gel with French law which disagreed with the parts of the plant used, and the THC in the product. The two were found guilty.

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After the guilty verdict, the two men appealed their case, citing that the product they imported and sold was completely legal by EU law, and that EU law allows the free trade of products across EU member state borders so long as the products meet EU standards. In this case, they did, and in time it was eventually kicked up to the highest court in the EU, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg, which had never made a ruling on CBD legality before. Today, November 19th, 2020, the court gave its ruling.

The court was tasked with making a ruling with a lot of further implications. Within the world of CBD itself it would make it impossible for any member state to deny an import that meets EU standards, thus legalizing CBD in all EU countries. The second aspect is that as part of the ruling, the court also had to decide whether CBD itself is a narcotic, thus setting an EU standard for that as well, and forcing that standard on all member states. Last, through these decisions, the EU set a standard for the general trade of products – CBD or anything else – leaving a large space open for new litigation and legislation based on this new case law.

What was the ruling?

As per the title of the article, the EU beat France as the CJEU found that France was in violation of EU law by not allowing products to be imported into the country that meet EU standards. Along with this, the CJEU also made the ruling that CBD is not a narcotic, saying “It does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health.” It went on to say, “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”.

Together, the two aspects of this ruling force a CBD legalization across all EU member states, reinforce that products can freely be traded between EU member countries, and also reinforce a general foundational aspect of the EU, that EU law trumps individual member state law. This, of course, gives a major boost to the CBD industry which has been operating in gray area throughout Europe for quite some time; and a major blow to any EU country that was trying to ban CBD, like Slovakia, which will now also have to allow citizens to use CBD products.

CBD

What about synthetics and pharmaceutical products?

One of the interesting pieces of information to be made clear when the EU beat France in court, was that France had actually not banned synthetic CBD, only regular CBD – or plant-derived. Synthetic CBD is essentially the same thing chemically, but created in a laboratory instead of grown as a plant, and is the basis for a burgeoning synthetics industry, led mainly by pharmaceutical and biotech companies. This industry, in fact, threatens the actual CBD and cannabis industries. The overall lower cost of producing synthetics, over a cannabis plant industry that has grown more expensive through the instilling of infrastructure like regulation and taxation, has made synthetics much more popular. What this means is that France just spent years to fight two guys in court on the basis of selling an unsafe product, when it already allowed that same product to be sold, so long as it was made in a laboratory. Basically, France just fought a fight to allow the pharmaceutical version of CBD to be sold, while banning the plant version. Luckily, the EU beat France.

CBD Oil

But let’s take a closer look at the situation for just a minute. One of the pharmaceutical cannabis products that is allowed in France is Epidiolex, a CBD-derived drug put out by GW Pharmaceuticals. This is the same drug at the center of Italy’s current legislative contradiction. Within the past few months, Italy has had two different government agencies put out opposing mandates. The Agriculture Agency listed CBD as an agricultural product in July, making it freely available for use in tons of products. About two months later, the Ministry of Health decided to list CBD as a medicine, making it only available with permission from the Medicines Agency, thus making it illegal to sell CBD products. This came complete with a warning to providers to take products off of shelves.

This discrepancy was made that much more stomach-turning by the idea that Epidiolex was just about to launch in the country. So now that makes two countries that specifically put out mandates to curb CBD usage, while accepting the pharmaceutical version instead. And funny enough, it was June, 2018 that Epidiolex was approved by the FDA in the US, the same time France made the designation that CBD oil must have 0% THC, creating the essential ban. Maybe it was just a coincidence…

Does all this sound familiar?

The case of France vs the EU highlights the same general controversy that is currently going on in the US, and has been for years. The idea of individual states legalizing cannabis (either medically or recreationally) while it remains illegal by federal standards. While there does seem to be a general upward trajectory in terms of change, starting with the latest Farm Bill which legalized hemp products with a THC content of no more than .3%, this discrepancy between federal and state law has been causing many problems for years. In fact, up until partway through the Obama administration, the federal government was constantly at odds with legal smokers, often putting them in jail even though they were going by their own state’s laws.

court ruling

If the US did the same thing as the EU, it would mean that all 50 states would be required to bend a knee and accept the legalization. As of yet, it hasn’t happened, but the EU ruling might give some indication as to what might happen in such a situation.

Conclusion

The question of why France made the ban in the first place, and why the country was willing to go to such great legal lengths when it already was allowing a pharmaceutical version of the same thing to be sold, are certainly good questions to ask. In the end, GW Pharmaceuticals might be one of the biggest losers in this, and I certainly won’t be shedding a tear for their monetary loss.

CBD is now not a narcotic by EU law, and EU member states must abide by EU mandates concerning CBD usage since the EU beat France in court. All this is fantastic and moving in the right direction, but there is one more thing to consider. In two weeks, there will be a vote on WHO cannabis scheduling recommendations. How that vote goes could very well impact what the EU just decided today.

Resources

Forced Legalizations: EU & France Battle it out Over CBD Laws
Mexico Still Waiting on Its Promised Cannabis Legalization

German Cannabis Flower Market is Ready to Explode
The New Italian Cannabis Contradiction

South Africa Introduces Some of the Most Lax Laws on Cannabis Yet Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)

Legal for a Day – The Mahashivaratri Festival and Nepal’s Changing Cannabis Laws
Slovakia Is Only EU State to Ban CBD
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
What’s France Up To? New Cannabis Fines and Litigation Over CBD

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 thc) and the Best Black Friday Delta 8 THC Deals 2020. Fly with Cannabis – Which Countries Let You Do It
Is Australia’s Capital Leading the Way for Legal Cannabis Down Under?

The post EU Beat France, CBD Legal Throughout EU appeared first on CBD Testers.

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These headlines are brought to you by Green Worx Consults, a company specializing in project management, workflow mapping and design, and Lean & 6 Sigma process. If you could use help making your business better at business, get in touch with Green Worx Consults.


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Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Pebbles Trippet: The Activist With Her Own Legal ‘Standard’

There isn’t much clearer evidence of an activist’s impact than having a legal doctrine that expands civil rights and personal liberty named in your honor.

This is the claim to fame of the woman behind what a California court in 1997 designated as the “Trippet Standard.”

Sudi “Pebbles” Trippet was a lifelong activist even before her name was inscribed in the annals of California case law. As noted in a profile on the Emerald Triangle’s local news site Redheaded Blackbelt, Trippet grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and launched her activist career at the precocious age of 17, when she helped to de-segregate public restaurants and lunch counters with the local chapter of the NAACP. A few years later, she was at the very first national march on Washington D.C. to protest the war in Vietnam, with Students for a Democratic Society in April 1965. After some time in the San Francisco Bay Area, in 1970 she moved to Mendocino County as part of the back-to-the-land wave. In 1972, she joined the campaign for the California Marijuana Initiative — the state’s first legalization initiative, which won about a third of the vote.  

Years later, she would recall to “The Cannabis Trail,” an online oral history of the Emerald Triangle, her long years of “daily activism, against the war in Vietnam, against apartheid, against nuclear proliferation, against marijuana prohibition. Whatever the issue was, I was there to be a part of it.”

But the defining episode of her life began on Oct. 17, 1994, when a traffic stop by a local cop in the unincorporated community of Kensington, in the Berkeley Hills of Contra Costa County, turned up an estimated 2 pounds of cannabis.

Immortalized in Case Law

When Trippet went before the jury, she argued both a medical necessity defense, based on her use of cannabis to treat migraines, as well as a “religious necessity,” claiming protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The court didn’t buy it. She was convicted of possession and transporting of marijuana, and sentenced to six months. 

She of course appealed. And, as fate would have it, her case opened before California’s First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco on Nov. 4, 1996 — just one day before the state’s voters approved Proposition 215, the historic medical marijuana initiative. 

This opened up a new avenue for her medical necessity defense. She now argued, first that Prop 215 applied to her case retroactively; and secondly that the medical defense it codified necessarily implies a right to transportation as well as possession of cannabis —so both charges should be thrown out. 

On Aug. 15, 1997, the appellate court issued a partial ruling in her favor. It agreed that Prop 215 should be applied retroactively, and that it includes an “implicit right” to transport cannabis. Rather than overturning her conviction, however, the First District remanded the case back to the trial court for further consideration in light of its findings. 

The First District decision included the following language: “The test should be whether the quantity transported and the method, timing and distance of the transportation are reasonably related to the patient’s current medical needs… Because there is a possibility (albeit remote) that appellant can establish that the two pounds of marijuana she was admittedly transporting at the time of her arrest (or at least all of it above 28.5 grams) met this test, the trial court should… determine this issue on remand.” (28.5 grams is the decriminalization threshold in California.) 

And thus the Trippet Standard was born. 

Trippet argued that because she typically smokes five “fatties” a day to treat her migraines, and the stash she was busted with was mostly leaf rather than bud, there was a good argument that the two pounds was indeed for her own medical needs. The lower court actually declined to re-hear the case, and the charges were dropped. Although Trippet had already served much of her sentence before the appeal, in the end it was a legal victory. The Trippet Standard has since been applied in several other cases across California. 

‘Trust the American People’

This was but one of many legal battles Trippet has waged over her right to cannabis — a reality she has emphasized in media interviews over the years.

“In the ’90s, I thought, am I going to have to be on trial for the rest of my life?” she recalled to the Ukiah Daily Journal in 2009, noting that she was arrested 10 times between 1990 and 2001. 

In December 2017, NBC aired the documentary “Bay Area Revelations: Cannabis Rush,” in which Trippet was interviewed by actor Peter Coyote. A transcript of the interview is on the website of the medical marijuana journal O’Shaughnessy’s.

“I was busted 10 times in 11 years in five counties,” Trippet told Coyote. “It was usually on the road driving late at night. My Sonoma County bust came in 1990. My Marin County bust in 1992. My Contra Costa bust in 1994, and also the Humboldt County bust and the Palo Alto bust.”

Noting that her most important legal victory came on appeal, Trippet added that, paradoxically, “to lose is a good thing… because if you lose, you have the opportunity to win higher for everybody. That’s where you set precedent.”

Trippet continues to live outside the Mendocino town of Albion, where she remains involved in two local organizations that she co-founded: The Medical Marijuana Patients Union and the Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. She is currently launching a Cannabis Elders Council, with an aim of keeping alive a community-rooted culture around the plant amid its commercialization by the industry. She’s also involved in the Cannabis Culture Museum, which will soon be opening in Willits, with a similar aim.

In a recent interview with the vlog Grow Sisters, Trippet summed up the democratic ethic behind her many legal fights: “My advice is to take it to trial, to trust the American people.        

TELL US, do you think cannabis is a medical necessity for you?

The post Pebbles Trippet: The Activist With Her Own Legal ‘Standard’ appeared first on Cannabis Now.

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