Philippe Coy, president of the Confederation of Tobacconists, made an astounding statement to the Le Parisien newspaper on Saturday, July 21. Coy announced that tobacconists have agreed to sell cannabis in their stores. On June 18, he made a similar declaration and related offer to Agnès Buzyn, the French Minister of Health.
The economic situation for tobacconists is particularly dire, and the numbers speak for themselves: 8,000 tobacconists closed their doors between 2002 and 2017. The situation does not appear to be improving, as tobacco sales have continued to drop in the last few months. Tobacconists are currently facing stiff competition from vaping stores and specialty shops. In addition, a new competitor has recently entered the market: “coffee shops” that sell CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychotropic product derived from cannabis.
As of today, tobacconists are fighting for legislation to guarantee them the exclusive right to distribute all manner of cannabis products.Their hope is to offset the significant financial losses the industry has suffered on account of anti-tobacco laws. These losses have been magnified due to the tobacconists’ inability to foresee just how popular vaping would become.
Blurred legal lines for CBD
Currently, French regulations stipulate that the sale of CBD is authorized so long as the percentage of tetrahydrocannabidol (THC) is less than .2%. THC is the molecule responsible for the euphoric effect of cannabis. Nonetheless, in the last few weeks, the press has reported on the arrests of numerous vape shop owners for the crime of selling narcotics.
Mildeca (the Interministerial Mission for the fight against drugs and controlled substances) recently reminded the public that the sale of CBD has been illegal for some time, but that Agnès Buzyn has not been clear about the legality of CBD. Philippe Coy now hopes for a swift and firm political decision concerning cannabis. In the case of new legislation, he is fighting for the tobacconists’ exclusive right to the sale of cannabis-related products throughout France.