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French Government Picks Six Companies For National Medical Cannabis Trial

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For all the foot-dragging, the French appear to be on track for what appears to be the largest, organized national trial in Europe.

It is hardly surprising, and for a number of reasons, that the French have finally stepped up to the plate on the medical cannabis discussion. After all, the WHO ruled that the drug was not a Schedule IV last December, right around the time that the European Commission voted that CBD is not a narcotic. This is now an unavoidable topic in every European capital.

However late they may be to this particular discussion, however, the French also seem to have learned a few lessons from neighbouring countries (including right next door in Germany) on how to proceed with this perennially sticky wicket.

As the Dutch government retreats in a fumbled recreational trial, and the German cultivation license holders have (yet) to produce at full speed, the French decided to take a different tact. Namely, they announced the launch of a national trial (much delayed) at the end of last year. There are to be 3,000 patients. And, here is the rub, participating companies must provide both product and vapes, for free.

Which Companies Will Be Participating?

There are six companies who have now been picked for selection in the French trial as announced in late January by the ANSM (the French agency of Medicines and Medical Devices). Their names will sound familiar to anyone who has paid attention to the global industry over the last few years. Like the German tender, several of the participants are from Canada (Aurora and Tilray/Aphria which are also both German bid winners). Australian firms Althea and Little Green Pharma were also chosen, along with the Israeli Panaxia and the UK based Emmac Life Sciences.

All of the product will be imported as the cultivation of cannabis is currently still illegal in France.

European Implications

With France now admitting that cannabis has medical efficacy, the second-largest economy in the EU has now signed up to moving forward on reform. Even if behind other places in Europe.

This also means that the next question is now, inevitably, in the room, and across Europe. When does recreational reform finally come here?

That topic is also on the table, inevitably, as COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift.

Be sure to book your tickets to the International Cannabis Business Conference this summer, when the conference returns to Berlin.