The French Corner
As we passed around spectacular booths with live plants, incredible light designs, or even the classical booth babes… we were attracted by the smell of a particular cheese smell, strange accents and accordeons: We found the French Corner.
So we stopped-by and met with the French Cannabusiness guys, Victor French Touch Seeds was the first one of them.
French Touch Seeds team in the heat of Expogrow
Hello Victor, so there’s French Banks for seeds here also?
“Yes and we created FTS back in 2010, making it was the easy part when it comes to administration in France. The hard part was to set up to meet the market demand with an offer at the European Level.
The market has evolved and many brands came out since, recently the seed market is literally exploding, in France 50 shops have opened last year. The “O’bar a Graines” franchise is only one of them.
But for us competition not a real problem, we have built a good reputation on very specific and accessible products with high quality. So the hard part of the job was done, and I think anyway it’s a positive boost for the market and for us lately too.”
About FTS products: we know there has been something called “Sativa des Rois” very much appreciated by the connoisseur. But lately you’ve managed to create a reproduction from the Deedee strain? Please tell us about that crazy move which consists in featuring new Landraces in your catalog (so far you’re the only bank here in Expogrow to do so)
“Yes we have introduced 2 Landraces in the FTS catalog lately, the Mangue Karot and the K1 “Kalité Tizane” both is pure sativa from the “Reunion Islands”. We have obtained these varieties through the French alliance overseas; out of these French territories we could reach original strains for the breeding. Both strains are very demanding, super long to reach maturity, and demand also to be tailed and taken care of carefully, so we wouldn’t recommend it for beginners.
But hey we’ve been very surprised to see how well these particular strains are selling worldwide. Today we’ve got orders from North America, Australia or even South America for the land races, showing the interest from the breeder’s community is real and people are actually using them. The truth is that these plants are not known for productivity but for incredible fruits.
Now when it comes to the Deedee strain it’s a bit of the star-product in FTS. Each time we release a new batch it’s quickly gone to be honest. Initially it was the cut of an élite clone called ‘Riri Cut’ selected from the seeds of a bank called ‘reservoir seeds’ by a breeder called ‘Riri the Dutchman’.
We’ve had this cut for about 10 years now and it hasn’t been shared too much with other growers. The fact is that it wouldn’t get pollinized so we used something called a ‘Cumming’ it’s a retro-crossing technique and we’ve used the Bubba Kush strain to this extend.
At the end of the process we are glad to meet the same Deedee unique terpene profile and a very pro-active and a strain with very dynamic effects. The fact is that anyone who has ever tried Deedee will remember it for life, so I’m glad to see that you guys at Blinc made no exception to that ;). “
Right by the side of French Touch Seeds was presented a new kind of chocolate. CBD infused chocoltae candies! The name is OG Krunch and we’ve been speaking with Etienne who specializes in chocolate candies, with CBD inside.
"We’re a company manufacturing edibles under the shape of chocolate candies with a Cannabis inspired shape. Each product is a bit looking like a bud of Cannabis. So first we’ve had to work on the taste and the shape of course and now we’re including CBD extract in the product too."
Have you ever been slowed down or blocked by the laws against Cannabis in France along the process?
Everybody knows there’s a large paradox in France where the laws are incredibly hard while the largest number of Cannabis users in Europe. So the whole thing came a bit like a provocative joke. We went around in French parties at some Extreme Sports gathering giving out candies that were looking like Cannabis buds and the local press related it, so the product became popular very fast around us.
The first batches were chocolate made only and then we began infusing the product with CBD or terpened Cannabis extract. The Spanish law has helped us moving forward by allowing us to participate and win several Cannabis cups already with full spectrum extract infused in OG Krunch."
Any numbers you can already share?
"The company is only1 year Old but we’re already sold 3 tons of Og Krunch chocolate already. We’re about 10 people in the company and 4 business associates."
Why the chocolate?
"Because I’ve always loved it and I believe it’s a work of art like bread or cooking. Since I also believe that hemp can save the world it was natural to me to cross both together and create my own product.
Right now we are looking into the US market with our partners so hopefully we manage to get the US customer to try OG Krunch in the near future."
When it comes to online retail with grow shops and head shops there's a handful of businesses installed for a few years among which Alchimia holds the lead. This shop has been delivering growing material and seeds for 15 years now.
This shop is shelving 7000 items out of which 1500 different Cannabis strains. Alchimia is onbe of the mosr Cannabis friendly company in Europe for more than 300 000 customer today. It was worth a toke and a talk, with Isaac, the main man in Expogrow.
Positive vibrations: Isaac from Alchimiaweb
"Hi there I’m Isaac in charge of the web department for the company, but I’m in also in charge of the trade shows department in Europe. Alchimiaweb is 15 years and I’ve been working here for about 7 years now. We began in Spain but now we are extending to the rest of Europe and South America so far. We are very careful with the packaging and the quality of the service so we’re managing a large customer’s base today, a lot in Spain but mostly in France too."
Is there like a company culture in Alchimiaweb?
"Yes we do actually, there is this zen-culture and the girls in the company have built their own social club that is somekind of Cannabis social club but a private one. In a general hand you can say we focus on our own happiness so we can deliver it to the final customer too.
Today we’re one of the few pure-players in Europe’s retail with growshops and headshops. Most of the other companies are linked with distribution companies but this is how we’re positioned and we intend to keep it like that. But yes there are many communities inside the company such as Tai-chi or football aficionados groups inside the company."
We can see on your web page that you're also proposing legal CBD Hash on delivery, is that true?
"Yes and it’s possible to buy it anywhere in Europe except Slovakia, but yes it's possible in France. As the product doesn’t hold THC it’s perfectly alright for us to sell it. The only problem with this is that canine units are not capable of making the difference between CBD Hash and regular THC hash. So when it comes to that it’s rather complicated sometimes if you should not carry this product with you in public places
By the look there’s absolutely no difference between CBD Hash and THC hash. But in the upcoming months there will be a lot of new CBD infused products, new brands news tastes and we know already it’s a best seller in France particularly. At the moment product is mechanically obtained and totally organic, so we will definitely increase the product range and all the brands available soon."
But while we had already tried a few ‘samples’ from the local vendors and our friends it was time for the masterpiece of the day. The Norml who is newly represented in France by a group of talented and motivated young men. We sat with one of them.
The man was tired after a hard day’s night. The day before he was representing Norml France in the French Assembly facing the French national deputes about Cannabis. So this was a walk on thin ice. Luckily we found the VIP lounge and sat in peace together with the French CannaHouse Doctor for the last interview of the day in Expogrow.
A smoke and a talk with the CannaHouse Doctor: Olivier Bertrand
Note from the writer : If you are +18 healthy and at liberty to choose Cannabis, the writer then recommends the responsible use of Northern Lights to enjoy the full dimension of this article.
Hello French Doctor,
"Hello I’m stressed, tired and hungry, so let’s sort it out quickly shall we?"
Sure, let me roll this one, so how about the history of the Norml?
Norml was created back in the 70’s on the west coast of California if you need more of history you can always google for it.
But here in France yes I’m part of the Norml France. I created the association ‘Chanvres et libertés’ back in 2013 with former activists of the CIRC North East in France. We’ve always used provocative knowledge and facts-knocking to educate the users and empower the parents about Cannabis.
That’s what I’ve done over the last 15 years, so If that makes you happy you can say I’m from the old school.
But today playing with the new school… The truth is that I’ve spent my life educating in order to reduce the health risks, but beyond any consideration, I do believe in knowledge.
Northern Lights joint #1
Some people believe that television is a brain washer while Cannabis is a conscience awakener, the question sounds unusual but what would be your take on that?
I don’t know if Cannabis is less dangerous than television, also it’s not been proven yet if Cannabis increases the cerebral activity on all subjects systematically. The thing that people should know for sure is that Cannabis contributes to the phenomenon of neurogenesis and modifies the neuronal plasticity. It goes for the good as in age-reversing processes that are being discovered recently, but also goes …. Well to the unknown honestly too..
To make it simple we can see exactly where and how Cannabis interacts with the human brain, but we’re far from mastering all the process and even more we don’t know exactly what all the consequences could be. So there’s still a lot to find out and meanwhile we need to move cautiously. Let’s make an example with the teenagers. At that age the human brain hasn’t completed its full maturity process yet, this is why teenagers should stay away from heavy and daily doses of Cannabis.
We know that irresponsible use of Cannabis can and do create unbalanced teenagers behaviors as a result of irresponsible use that we know for sure today. People should keep in mind that Cannabis is a plant that can influence the behavior of everyone; it’s not a like pack of Candy that should be handed free for all every school exit.
My idea is to educate in order to reduce risks and to encourage responsible behaviors. (He tokes and passes it out to me, which could then explain the next question)
There are a lot of studies published in France, some of which are very negative and alarming targeting the use of Cannabis. Is it to believe that the French medical college is using a hammer for sole tool, so everything about Cannabis ends up looking like a nail?
There’s a vivid community of opponents to the Cannabis plant in France among who the French PHD Jean Costentin. The latter wrote a number of books with explicit title such as: ‘Why the use of Cannabis should remain prohibited’ or again ‘HALT THE CANNABIS’.
Look: I’m not rejecting the principle and the validity of the majority of the studies; some of them are proving useful too. But I just don’t comprehend the general conclusions of the medical community. I mean if we follow these numbers and agree to their conclusions we should be surrounded by hordes of antisocial nutcases and psychotics provoked by Cannabis.
Studies are a good thing but eventually the scientists sometime forget that we’re surrounded in France with Cannabis users. They are every day’s people: employees, bankers, lawyer’s teacher’s doctors, administrative people, business managers and else… We’re talking about the responsible use of millions of adults mixed together with non-users who pay their taxes, raise their kids properly and in the end are making the French society going round too.
So In the name of this entire people we as doctors and scientist I believe that we should treat each new alarmist Cannabis study ordered in the media with a minimum of consideration and the appropriate distance.
#Northern Lights joint 2
So you’re coming from the Circ and you’re building the Norml France: why so?
There’s nothing wrong with using Cannabis, nothing abnormal. If you look at me you may never think I’m a Cannabis user because I do wear shoes and tie? The next struggle to push out the normality of Cannabis will take lobbyists, scientists, jurists, designers and marketing experts too… Join the Norml France By the way ;)
In France we need to understand that Cannabis is a global issue that does not only regard poets and dreamers. Norml is indeed the way I believe in to make things change progressively in the heart and the mind of decision makers and politicians. Norml people are the living proof that Cannabis users are also focused on health care and social integration. For the last couple of years we’ve been organizing the movement and we’re now ready to discuss with all our European partners to act stronger and better with the financial support of the members and the many benefactors too.
#Northern Lights joint 3
Doctor, according to all medical facts in our possession and all the matching scientific data compiled at the door of 2018; should we both agree, that if there would be someone named a living god on earth today, that person should be Peter Gabriel?
As I’ve been repeatedly preoccupied by that matter, I also came to that very same and obvious conclusion myself.
So I think maybe then we should celebrate! I do have his best album “US” in my car so as soon as the whole building will stop slowly gliding from left to right we should walk down listening to that marvel on the parking lot."