Beginning to gain recognition, Kanavape became one of the most iconic CBD brands in France, following a complaint filed by the then Minister of Health, Marisole Touraine. Asked about RTL, the latter explains that Kanavape is in fact accused of selling narcotics and therefore illegal products.
“I am opposed to such a product being marketed in France because it constitutes an incitement to the consumption of cannabis,” she explains on the radio. The co-founders were then implicated in drug trafficking, promotion of drug use, illegal practice of medicine and pharmacy, the illegal opening of a pharmacy…
It was not until 2017 that the case experienced the first acceleration. Sébastien Béguerie and his former partner, Antonin Cohen are found guilty. The two men were sentenced respectively to eighteen and fifteen months in prison, suspended. They must also pay a fine of 10,000 euros (each). To this, the Marseille criminal court adds 5,000 euros (2,500 euros each) to be paid to the order of pharmacists. Indeed, the latter, feeling at ease, filed a civil action.
Sentenced, the Kanavape team then filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence. The latter does not consider itself competent to rule and has therefore turned to the higher level, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) . After several years, it delivered its verdict, this time in favor of Kanavape. The reason given was also very simple: France was hindering the very principle of the free movement of goods within the European area by blocking CBD products containing no trace of THC.
As a result, France was ordered to review its legislation on the subject. During this case, the Advocate General came to the following conclusion: “EU law prohibits a member country from prohibiting the ordering and import of CBD oil from another member country if this oil is obtained from the whole hemp plant and not only from its fibres and seeds because according to the current state of scientific knowledge, cannabidiol oil has not been proven to have psychotropic effects.”