The European Union’s highest court ruled on Thursday that CBD is not a narcotic because “it does not appear to have any psychotropic effect or any harmful effect on human health,” the Guardian reports. The ruling came in the case against Czech company KanaVape in France; the company exports hemp-derived CBD oil.
Additionally, the court determined that the French ban on the marketing of hemp-derived CBD contradicted E.U. laws on the free movement of goods, the report says. Under French law, only hemp fiber and seeds – not the flower – may be used for commercial purposes. The court also noted that France had not outlawed synthetic CBD.
“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. … 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.” – E.U. Justice Court ruling via the Guardian
Antonin Cohen, who faced the charges along with his KanaVape co-founder Sébastien Béguerie, said that “it is fundamental to develop strict quality standards in the interests of consumers in order to avoid the circulation of dangerous products.”
In a 2017 report, the World Health Organization described CBD as “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and said there is no evidence “of any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” The following year, the agency recommended descheduling the cannabinoid.
Béchir Saket, vice president of the French cannabis advocacy group L630, told Politico that the decision “secures the CBD market” in Europe.
In May, an E.U. magistrate said in a non-binding opinion related to the KanaVape case that members of the bloc could not ban the import of CBD products because the extract was not considered a narcotic drug.