Health minister seeks court ban amid fears new cannabis-laced electronic cigarette could incite further use of drug
France has sought to stamp out a new electronic cigarette containing cannabis, launched on Tuesday with the claim that it provides all of the relaxation but none of the mind-altering effects of the drug.
The health minister, Marisol Touraine, said the product would incite the consumption of cannabis and she intended to approach the courts to ban it. “I am opposed to such a product being commercialised in France,” she told RTL radio.
The product was launched by a French-Czech company called Kanavape which said it hoped to offer millions of people a legal and flavourful way to consume cannabis.
Smoking e-cigarettes, or vaping, is fashionable in France, and while people have long since figured out how to doctor them to smoke marijuana – as evidenced by hundreds of YouTube tutorials on the subject – Kanavape claims its product is legal.
The company extracts Cannabidiol – a compound in cannabis that does not contain the mind-altering THC ingredient – from hemp, a variety of cannabis grown for fibre and seeds.
The hemp is grown on farms in France, Spain and the Czech Republic without chemicals or fertiliser, the company claims on its website. “Kanavape provides you with a unique experience. Cannabidiol is a non-psychotic component of hemp. It does not have euphoric effects but helps you feel more relaxed,” it says.
Recreational use of marijuana is illegal in France, but the country allows the drug’s active ingredients to be used for medical purposes.