Having just opened in various communes throughout France, numerous coffee shops have already had to close their doors. The reason? The strict application of the cannabidiol law enforced by the Ministry of Health, a reality that may have far reaching consequences for vaping businesses throughout France.
In Bordeaux, Brest, and Dijon, the same scenario has been playing out since July 23. Just as soon as stores offering cannabidiol-based products open their doors, they are forced to close. The police intervene, seized property, and place the storeowners in custody. These forceful operations are carried out under the pretence of respecting the new THC and CBD legislation.
However, there is a vagueness surrounding the new legislation. Up until recently, each region has had a different interpretation of the law’s specific details. Since the end of July, the Ministry of Health has been calling on all authorities to adopt a similar position: no product containing THC can be sold outside of pharmacies.
Vape shops in the crosshairs of the law
The law allows for up to 0.2% of THC in commercial products. For the managers of coffee shops, this regulation applies to products that are ready to be sold. For the Health Ministry, however, the 0.2% applies to the raw product, meaning that no finished product can contain THC. This stipulation is what led to the closing of numerous stores (it is worth noting the hypocrisy of not prosecuting the sale of rolling paper, which is readily available in stores).
Such a strict application of the law has caused anger amongst coffee shop owners. These business owners bring up the fact that tobacconists can sell products containing THC without any fear of the law. The prosecutor in Dijon responded to such criticisms by assuring he public that tobacconists selling products with THC will have their licenses revoked.
Going forward, vape shop managers will have to be extremely careful about what they sell. In fact, the sale of any product containing THC could generate a hefty fine and potentially a store closing, even if the rate is only 0.2%. For the time being, however, there have been no reported incidents.