France: Driving a vehicle after consuming CBD is illegal

Two long years have just taken a new turn. on January 21, 2021, the criminal court sentenced a man in the case of a man arrested for speeding. The man also tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a saliva test conducted in accordance with the requirements of such an industry. He was subsequently convicted by the court of driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and speeding at least 40 km/h and less than 50 km/h. His sentence was two months probation, a six-month suspension of his driver’s license, and a €50 fine.

If the defendant did not challenge the speeding, he decided to appeal his conviction for driving under the influence of drugs. He stated that he did not smoke marijuana, only cannabidiol (CBD), whose THC content was then below the legal limit of 0.2%. on September 5, 2022, the Court of Appeal of Rouen ruled in his favor, effectively dropping the charge.

If, prior to 2016, only certain violations required screening, police can now conduct checks to look for traces of alcohol or drugs in a driver’s blood in the following situations:

In the event of a major traffic accident.
When the driver of a vehicle is charged with a traffic violation
If there is one or more reasonable grounds to suspect drug use
On his or her own initiative or at the request of the prosecutor, even if there is no accident, crime, or probable cause to suspect narcotics use.
Thus, as in this example, simple speeding can give rise to control.

The mere presence of THC in the blood is sufficient
But this does not take into account the ruling made by the Supreme Court last week. According to her, “if it is established that the defendant drove a vehicle after having used a substance classified as narcotic, the absorbed dose is not important (sic)”, constitutes the crime of driving a vehicle with narcotics. THC was included in the list of narcotics and the Supreme Court decided to revoke and annul the decision of the Court of Appeal. As a result, the case was again remanded to the latter, which will have to retry.

Unlike alcohol, narcotics are not subject to any tolerance thresholds.
This case should be a wake-up call to all CBD consumers. If they consume even a small amount of THC in their blood before driving, then they may be convicted of driving under the influence of narcotics, regardless of whether the dose of THC in CBD complies with the legal limit of 0.3%. Sold freely.

Traces linger in the bloodstream for a long time
It should also be noted that because THC remains in the bloodstream for up to four days after it is taken, it is likely that a person will be convicted of driving a vehicle under the influence of narcotics even long after the narcotics have been taken. The Supreme Court recalled this on March 12, 2008 and October 14, 2014 in Appeals No. 07-83476 and No. 13-81390.

In these cases, traces of tetrahydrocannabinol were found in the blood of two drivers, which experts found hours or even days before the control. If they show that the defendants are thus no longer under the influence of drugs, then for the Supreme Court, “it proves that the defendants have indeed committed the crime with which they are charged.” They are thus condemned.