Owners of cannabis cafes in Paris are claiming that the marijuana they sell isn’t intended for smoking. However, customers lining up to visit the shops are adamant that they intend to toke.
A picture taken on May 30, 2018 shows vials containing cannabis in a shop specialised in medical cannabis in Annoeullin, near Lille, northern France. – In Annoeullin, near Lille, a brand new shop sells cannabis-based products, in the middle of a debate on its legal use to relieve pain. Since May 18, this store offers CBD (Cannabidiol). (Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)
Thanks to a recent easing of France’s notoriously strict drug laws, it is legal for shops to sell cannabis containing less than 0.2% THC. The products are currently being sold by two cannabis cafes in the very hip 11th arrondissement of Paris, and lines have been insane, reports The Telegraph.
However, Joaquim Lousquy, the owner of cannabis cafe “Cofyshop,” is claiming that his products aren’t meant for smoking.
“There’s no psychotropic effect. It isn’t a medicine or a relaxant,” he told The Telegraph. “I wouldn’t advise anyone to smoke cannabis. We sell it like any other item, just like a furniture shop sells tables or chairs.”
While Lousquy’s claims of no psychotropic effects are probably true, saying the products aren’t intended for smoking is an artful dodge. Unlike tables or chairs, his products are actual cannabis buds, and very smokable. Plenty of people in the line freely admitted that they were there to smoke it, hoping to enjoy some effects from at least the CBD.
“I want to find out if the stuff they’re selling gets you stoned,” said Marc, a customer. “In theory, it has less than 0.2 percent THC, but I’ve heard it contains more CBD [cannabidiol, a legal cannabinoid] and that should have an effect, at least to make you feel relaxed.”
Stéphane Bélaiche, the owner of the second cannabis cafe in Paris, E-Klop, said he was selling CBD for “another flavor to enjoy,” not for smoking. But let’s be real, they’re selling buds.
The buds they’re selling aren’t exactly the high-potency cannabis people enjoy in U.S. legal states, but they’re definitely something people in France are excited about.
A woman named Cécile told The Telegraph that, “I’m here because this is the first coffee-shop where I can buy cannabis legally. I think legalizing it should mean good quality.”
Plenty of people patronizing the new coffee shops were also illegal customers, but they said they were really excited to buy legal cannabis, even if it wasn’t going to get them quite as high. “I’m a regular cannabis smoker and this is a chance to try what is legally available,” said Julie. She was joined, last Saturday, by over 500 people waiting in line to buy the low-THC cannabis. Waits were over two hours, according to a shop security guard.
France may be a ways off from legalizing real cannabis, with more than 0.2% THC, but even the light stuff draws interest, apparently.