It is very cold this Friday morning. At almost 10 o’clock in the morning, a beautiful winter sun gently illuminates the stones of the Palais-Royal. We are in the heart of Paris, just a few meters from the Louvre Museum. It is here, in the former residence of the kings of France, that the Council of State sits.
At the crossroads of rue Saint-Honoré and rue de Rohan, a big fellow of 1.90m, flanked by two or three people, arrives. It’s Yannick Jadot. The environmental candidate for the presidential election comes today to support the CBD sector. In a few minutes, she holds a hearing vital for her survival, since the government banned the sale of hemp flowers.
CBD-based cannabis must remain legal. We must preserve the 20,000 direct and indirect jobs. pic.twitter.com/YyKNjmqaFt
—Yannick Jadot (@yjadot) January 14, 2022
At his side this Friday morning, Julien Bayou. He is the boss of the Europe Ecology Les Verts (EELV) party, but also a lawyer. Under this cap, he wrote a legal file for the Union of CBD Professionals. With other lawyers, they defend their work today before the Council of State. Objective: restore the sale of flowers. If there was no Covid, Master Bayou would even have pleaded before the judge to defend cannabidiol traders. But seats at the helm were limited.
Lobbying and media strategy
You have to rewind a few months back to understand the friendship between the green party and CBD traders. In May 2021, entrepreneurs are panicking. They learn that a government text, revealed by Newsweed, plans to ban flowers. Their union, the UPCBD, was therefore launched in a hurry. Charles Morel, a Parisian lawyer, is named at its head.
To give weight to the new structure, Morel is hiring the services of the Influences agency in mid-June. Their collaboration aims to “develop an effective strategy to position the Union of CBD Professionals as the benchmark for the sector and deploy its messages”. Translation ? Influences must help it in its lobbying and media strategy.
This agency, thanks to its networks, will contact Julien Bayou, and explain to him the difficulties of the sector. He agrees to meet Charles Morel. The first exchange will take place in a café, in October. “He was attentive and sensitive to the issues of cannabidiol”, remembers the latter.
A third person will help Bayou and Morel to take a step forward in their relationship: Bechir Saket. This environmental activist – he wrote the health section of Yannick Jadot’s presidential program – is also immersed in the world of CBD. He is indeed co-founder of L630, an association which campaigns for a reform of drug policy. Saket is also close to Yann Bisiou, a jurist, who often works with the UPCBD.
This milestone between Bayou and Morel will be crossed on December 31, 2021. On that day, a few hours before New Year’s Eve, the government discreetly publishes its decree prohibiting the sale of flowers. The two lawyers then decide to work together. The UPCBD wants to file an appeal before the Council of State, to have the text annulled.
The union then mobilized the Marseilles lawyer Xavier Pizarro, the jurist Yann Bisiou… and Julien Bayou, the boss of the ecologists. The latter is particularly responsible for the consumer aspect. According to a source, an ethical question stirred his political party for a while: is it the role of the national secretary of EELV to defend the interests of a private economic sector?
Finally, the “win-win” takes it away. First, because Bayou works for free – pro bono as they say in lawyer jargon. Then, because both sides will be able to benefit from this collaboration. On the one hand, environmentalists take the opportunity to knock out the executive, in the middle of the presidential campaign. Example : “There is an obsession on the part of this government as soon as the word ‘cannabis’ appears, it is totally ridiculous! », retorts the candidate Yannick Jadot, before the Council of State.
The same goes for Bayou, which prides itself on a “big legal victory”, the day after the judges’ decision. In a way, if he has not been paid for his legal analysis, his “salary” will be political. ” Of course it’s a political victory for us, recognizes today Julien Bayou with Newsweed. We have a CBD industry that was the victim of the Interior Minister’s dogmatism on cannabis, it took a stray bullet. So we took legal action, and it’s a snub. »
” It was obvious that Bayou was going to use it politically. At least he has the courage of his convictions, he pays with his person”, greets one of those who worked with him.
Victoire ! 🍁
CBD (especially flowers) has just been authorized again by the Council of State. After a legal battle, the government decree was suspended last night 👏
— Julien Bayou (@julienbayou) January 25, 2022
On the other side, CBD traders use EELV’s political and media visibility. Today, almost everyone appreciates his support. “If we don’t bring the debate to the political field, I don’t give much of our skin”, blows a trader. “Their commitment is positive, it allows us to publicize our cause. Any political support is welcome,” abounds the president of the Professional Union of Hemp, Aurélien Delecroix.
Only small downside: some fear that environmentalists are mixing everything up. Indeed, the CBD industry is very careful with words. They never say “cannabis” but “hemp”, for example. Both refer to the same plant, but resonate differently in the collective unconscious. As Yannick Jadot wants to legalize recreational cannabis if elected, some vendors fear they are mixing cannabidiol and THC.
Others cringe a little more. “So far, very little has been heard from environmentalists on CBD. It’s more for convenience, we’ll say, ” tackle Ludovic Mendès, in reference to the presidential campaign. This LREM deputy who has been working for several years on the subject in the National Assembly was notably rapporteur for the information mission on cannabis on the CBD component. “We cannot take away all the work done in recent years”, he adds.