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Big day for legal cannabis in France: ANSM endorses medical cannabis pilot and launch of cannabis Parliamentary Mission

Today is a big day for legal cannabis in France.  Earlier this morning, the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety (ANSM) endorsed the medical cannabis pilot programme per the recommendations of the French specialised committee on cannabis (CSST) which were published on 28 June (see our earlier blog post: "French cannabis committee unveils recommendations for medical cannabis pilot programme"). The ANSM specifies in its press release that, in collaboration with the French Health Ministry, it is now taking the necessary steps to set up and implement the technical aspects of the pilot program, which is expected to start by the end of this year. So far, no details are known with respect to the application process (if any) for foreign cannabis producers to be included in the pilot programme.

Simultaneously, during a specific conference focused on well-being cannabis (i.e., the use of  hemp-derived ingredients in products such as cosmetics, food supplements, e-cigarettes...) which took place this morning in the French National Assembly and was led by French Deputy Jean-Baptiste Moreau, the creation of a specific parliamentary mission on cannabis was announced.  The parliamentary mission will regroup four permanent commissions of the National Assembly, i.e., the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Social Affairs Commission, the Law Commission, and the Economic Affairs Commission.  The committees’ chairs (B. Pompili, B. Bourguignon, Y. Braun-Pivet, and P. Lescure respectively) were all four enthusiastic about participating in such mission.

The parliamentary mission will focus on the cannabis plant in all its dimensions, i.e., for medical, well-being but also recreational use. The specific goal of this long-term parliamentary mission is to provide all stakeholders with the opportunity and time to examine the different dimensions and issues related to the use of the cannabis plant in order to support further public debate and possible future legislation. It was agreed that the plant - which has a vast multitude of uses - presents economic opportunities (it would be regrettable not to consider) and environmental interests that are no longer debatable. However, in the interest of the French population, possible public health concerns should also be taken into account. No specific timeline on the parliamentary mission's working programme was announced during this morning's conference.

If you are interested in a broader overview of EU and national developments with respect to cannabis, please have a look at our latest Cannabis Legal & Regulatory Updates here.

This article was co-authored by Alexis Vaujany.