France: Parliamentary Committee reports on cannabis regulation

In May 2021, a multidisciplinary committee established by the French Parliament published three reports on cannabis regulation. The reports, totalling 450 pages, address the regulation and impact of three types of cannabis use, namely: medicinal, recreational and use in the context of ‘wellness’ (focusing on cannabidiol (CBD) use). The committee’s work was based on analyses of the situation in countries that have regulated these different types of cannabis use within the European Union and internationally (particularly in North America).

The multidisciplinary committee included representatives of six parliamentary commissions (Economic Affairs, Social Affairs, Law, Finance, Cultural and Educational Affairs and Sustainable Development) and comprised around 30 parliamentarians from governing and opposition parties. The group carried out approximately 100 hearings with experts, professionals, researchers, institutional representatives and associations over a period of more than one year. The investigations covered issues related to cannabis and public health and safety, economic development and regional planning, as well as looking at the hemp business sector.

The report on medicinal uses of cannabis focuses on the new French experiment on prescribing cannabis products for therapeutic use (a programme that began in March 2021) while also looking ahead to fully implementing the programme, facilitating patient access and allowing the development of a new medical cannabis sector. The report on CBD calls for a broad consideration of all potential legal aspects while recommending an information, evaluation and regulatory system to maintain consumer safety. Lastly, the report on recreational use supports the regulated supply of cannabis while proposing a major national debate on key questions that would ensure state control of the trade and the protection of young people. In response to these proposals, the French government has supported the current experimental programme on prescribing cannabis for therapeutic use.

A revision of the legal framework is also currently being studied, which would allow for the sale of low-THC cannabis products while preserving public health and safety. Nevertheless, the French government has reiterated its opposition to the legalisation of recreational cannabis.

All reports, as well as the hearings, can be accessed online (in French) on the website of the French Parliament.