With all of the talk of cannabis legalization here in the U.S. and Canada, let’s not overlook our allies across the pond. France passed laws recently that allowed stores or cafes to start selling low-THC cannabis and the first ones opened their doors a week ago.
The cannabis sold in Paris comes from hemp grown in Switzerland but is not only pure CBD. It contains traces of THC but consumers are being warned not to smoke the flower they buy. It is far from full spectrum high-THC flower that one would find in dispensaries in Las Vegas or in Aspen, but it is cannabis and it is moving our friends in France a little closer to an adult-use cannabis market.
Joaquim Lousquy, 29, the owner of ‘Cofyshop’ in the hip 11th arrondissement, said: “There’s no psychotropic effect. It isn’t a medicine or a relaxant. I wouldn’t advise anyone to smoke cannabis. We sell it like any other item, just like a furniture shop sells tables or chairs.”
Marc, 21, queuing outside the shop, said: “I want to find out if the stuff they’re selling gets you stoned. In theory, it has less than 0.2 per cent THC, but I’ve heard it contains more CBD [cannabidiol, a legal cannabinoid] and that should have an effect, at least to make you feel relaxed.”
Stéphane Bélaiche, owner of E-Klop, a similar shop in Puteaux, a west Paris suburb, said: “I don’t sell CBD products so they can be smoked in a joint, but so that people can find another flavour to enjoy.”
The French Health Authority has ruled that “no therapeutic benefit may be claimed by the makers or vendors or any product containing CBD.”
Dan Véléa, a psychiatrist specialising in addiction, told the news website 20 Minutes that there was a risk that “CBD will act as a ‘gateway’ product for new users” who may progress to illegal, high-strength cannabis.
Maxine, 35, an advertising copywriter, said she was buying cannabis for her aunt. “She has arthritis and this a natural therapy that she can try to alleviate the pain, but yes, I’ll try it myself too, of course, more out of curiosity than anything else.”
France is not a long train ride from Amsterdam and it is unlikely that it is that challenging for people interested in marijuana to find it while in France. Does the idea of a full adult-use cannabis market in Paris make it even more appealing to visit the legendary city?