The new cannabis-selling shops in Paris are taking advantage of a grey area in the law which has not classified the legal status of CBD (cannabidiol) products made from hemp.
The products in these shops are supposed to contain only 0.2 percent of THC which means that they have no effect on a person's mind unlike normal cannabis available illegally.
But now the Paris prosecutors office has charged narcotics investigators with a preliminary investigation to “verify whether the legal conditions of sale of certain forms of cannabis are being respected” by the first store of its kind to open in the French capital itself, Cofyshop, a legal source revealed to Le Parisien.
Photo: The Local France
Cofyshop, located in the trendy 11th arrondissement, sells cannabis for between €11.50 and €13 per gram, as well as teas and massage oils has been so popular that there were queues down the street and owner Joaquim Lousquy, 29, had to hire two security guards to deal with the sheer number of customers.
In fact, the store, which opened on June 5th, was also forced to close on several occasions after running out of stock, according to reports.
Lousquy previously told Le Parisien that it was difficult to tell the difference between his product and real weed: “Our grass does indeed have the same smell and the same appearance as THC products.
“The police cannot tell the difference,” he said.
Similar businesses have followed hot on the heels of Cofyshop, opening elsewhere in the French capital, including in the 2nd arrondissement and E-Klop is in Puteaux, a west Paris suburb.
However it looks like the Ministry of Health will soon address the so-called grey area in the law, with France's Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn saying that she thinks the shops will be “closed in a few months”.
“We will have to review the legislation and review how we put this all in order,” she told RTL. “It is true that the 0.2 percent legislation is perhaps a little vague.”
No doubt the store's many fans will be disappointed by this news.
Julie, 30 who works in fashion spoke to The Local as she queued outside the shop last week.
“I'm a regular cannabis smoker and this is a chance to try what is legally available.I usually buy from a regular dealer illegally because France doesn't give people a choice,” she said. “In other countries it's no problem to smoke weed but in France it's a taboo.
Despite the jars of product in the shop labelled with signs saying “Do not smoke”, Julie was among the many people who said their intention was to smoke what they bought.
Another person who had braved the big queue, Fabrice, 28, an academic in the French capital said that he was there out of “curiosity”.
“It's the first shop like it in Paris and I want to see what it sells and try out the legal version of cannabis,” he told The Local.