By / April 12, 2023

MILDECA Is Setting Up a Monopoly on CBD Sales in France

MILDECA, the French Interministerial Mission for Combating Drugs and Addictive Behaviors, is reportedly considering a regulatory framework that would restrict the sale of CBD flowers in France to tobacco shops and introduce an excise tax on sales. While the move would give tobacco shops a potential monopoly on CBD flower sales, it would likely have significant implications for the wider CBD market in France.

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MILDECA Meeting Postponed for Now

A ministerial meeting was supposed to be held on April 4, but conflicting government positions and social unrest resulted in its postponement to a later date. Nevertheless, the stakes for this second meeting were to continue outlining the future regulation of the sale of CBD flowers in France.

The scenario has been circulating in people’s minds for a long time, even though it has never been officially requested by tobacconists, not out of altruism but because a tobacco product is heavily taxed and, therefore, less profitable. In contrast, CBD is currently more interesting than a pack of cigarettes in terms of taxes.

MILDECA May Grant Tobacconists a CBD Monopoly

According to our information, MILDECA is working on drastically tightening the CBD flower market to grant them a monopoly.

The underlying idea is to introduce an excise tax on hemp flower sales and to only allow one distribution channel: that of tobacco shops. However, production would still be entrusted to “active farmers,” as already specified in the December 30, 2021 decree, who must enter into production contracts with approved manufacturers in the customs sense of the term.

MILDECA “Developing a Suitable Regulatory Framework”

When contacted by us, MILDECA does not confirm working on the subject. However, it published a press release last December stating that it “continues to reflect on ways to prevent these risks by developing a suitable regulatory framework for the marketing of these raw flowers and leaves.” But, as often with MILDECA, communication is complicated.

Philippe Glory, vice-president of the Confederation of Tobacconists and in charge of work on CBD, confirms that MILDECA is on its way to “drafting a text.” However, the Confederation is not invited to the working table due to the interministerial meeting and does not request sales exclusivity.

The Intentions of MILDECA Are Unclear

“They are possibly talking about excise duties, but that does not mean they are reserved for tobacconists,” Philippe Glory tells us. For context, Luxembourg and Belgium have excise duties of around 30%, to which VAT must be added.

“It’s unclear; there’s nothing in writing,” he emphasizes. He particularly insists on the need to “provide good service and quality, which has not always been the case with some of our colleagues when they started to market CBD.”

On the political side, we contacted Ludovic Mendes, a Renaissance MP, who is organizing a symposium on medical cannabis and CBD next Thursday at the National Assembly. He is also unaware of these meetings without being surprised.

“It’s the same thing every time; they work behind closed doors and then present a text.”

Professional Hemp Union Still in the Dark

The Professional Hemp Union also lacks knowledge of what MILDECA is aiming at and its proposed solutions. However, a former member readily imagines that the interministerial mission still bears a grudge against the setback of December 2022 and may not necessarily want to include hemp associations, which were behind the decision of the Council of State.

What is the timing for this project? One of the ideas under consideration is to include it in the 2024 Social Security Financing Plan (PLFSS) to start on January 1, 2024. Then, it would only be necessary to pass a decree to specify all the “rules.” And to shut down all CBD shops in France and Navarre at the risk of developing a black market for CBD?

(Featured image by JLPC (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons)

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