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Imminent cannabis legalization in France puts cannabis investing on fast track in Europe

Imran Javed



Members of four French political groups, including some from the majority party of La Republique en Marche, will propose a bill this week in favor of a state monopoly for the production and sale of cannabis in France.


A state monopoly for the production and sale of cannabis… MPs from four French political groups, including some from the presidential party (LREM), are advocating for the “controlled legalization” of cannabis in a bill released to the press on Tuesday, June 18.


Across the pond in the US – where cannabis and its CBD derivative are quickly gaining widespread acceptance in many states – companies large and small are starting to capitalize on the extreme appetite consumers have shown towards cannabis and CBD.


One glaring example of this trend is Colorado-based West Coast Venture Group (OTC: WCVC). The small, publicly traded restaurant operator recently made headlines when it became America’s first CBD restaurant stock. WCVC’s Illegal Burger Writer Square location in Downtown Denver is expected to generate over $1 million in sales this year while a second location (Denver CitiSet) is on track to exceed $700,000 in sales in its first full year of operations.


During the course the last fiscal year (2018), West Coast Venture Group earned $3,054,623 in revenue and witnessed consistent year-over-year growth. And the company expects this trend to continue well into 2019 and 2020. The first quarter of 2019 already saw year-over-year revenue growth of 21.55% in what is traditionally known as a slow quarter in the restaurant industry.


To further kickstart its growth, the company also recently announced the launch of its Illegal Pizza franchise, and it opened its first location on June 19, 2019 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This location is expected to generate around $700,000 in revenues within the first twelve months of operation, and it will mark the first of many Illegal Pizza locations across the country.


Back in France, “the creation of a monopoly for the production and sale of cannabis through the creation of a national company, SECA (Société d’exploitation du cannabis), will make it possible to regulate production and sale while controlling consumption,” is the clear and stated objective of these MPs.


The signatories of the bill, which will be formally presented this week, are François-Michel Lambert, Sylvia Pinel, Paul Molac, Jean-Michel Clément, Jeanine Dubié, Frédérique Dumas, François Pupponi (Liberties and Territories), Delphine Bagarry, Annie Chapelier, Hubert Julien-Laferrière, Pierre-Alain Raphan and Cécile Rilhac (La République en Marche), Régis Juanico (Socialist Party), as well as Eric Coquerel, Loïc Prud’ homme (La France Insoumise) and Sébastien Nadot (not registered).


“The policy of strong repression is a complete failure,” says François-Michel Lambert, MP for the Bouches-du-Rhône, himself a former LREM candidate from the environmentalist ranks, and spokesman for the Union of Democrats and Environmentalists (UDE). Cannabis “can be likened to alcohol or tobacco on drug issues,” he says.


The sale, by tobacco shops (known as “buralistes” in France), would be prohibited to minors, according to this bill. An order of the Minister of Health would also set the authorized level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant’s main psychoactive substance. Part of the proceeds from cannabis taxes could be “devoted to policies to prevent and reduce risks, especially for young people as well as vulnerable segments of the population.”


70 celebrities call for legalization of cannabis in France


On the eve of the tabling of this bill, 70 personalities also launched a call for the supervised legalization of cannabis in the weekly magazine “Le Nouvel Observateur” last Wednesday. Doctors, elected officials and economists alike believe that “it is precisely because it is harmful to health, and particularly to the health of minors, that we must control its production and distribution.”


“When will France accept to face reality, and be pragmatic in the face of this impasse? ” asked a long list of signatories of the call, including MEPs Raphaël Glucksmann (Public Square), Yannick Jadot (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts), former Health Minister Bernard Kouchner and addictologist Amine Benyamina.


At the beginning of April, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe considered that it would be “absurd” to refrain from studying the possibilities of therapeutic cannabis. But “this does not mean that we are  legalizing the sale of cannabis,” the Prime Minister’s office added.

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