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Germany: Federal Supreme Court says selling hemp flowers is legal

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Photo: DR | amychapmanlaw.com

The Federal Court of Justice of Germany (BGH) declared that the sale of hemp flowers and leaves to consumers cannot be prohibited, in a decision published last week, announced the RTL. The decision strengthens the legality of the sale of industrial hemp-based products in Germany and corroborates the view already expressed by the European Supreme Court of Justice.

For the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) this decision, together with the European Court of Justice decision of November 2020, is a historic step towards the successful development of the hemp industry in Europe.

In this way, the BGH recognizes and protects the rights of German farmers and producers, as well as retailers and traders of hemp-based products.

Distribution to end consumers and possession of unprocessed commercial hemp products thus do not fall under the Narcotic Drugs Act, as long as there is no intentional misuse for intoxication purposes. The decision of the 6th Criminal Senate of the BGH follows a judgment by the Regional Court of Braunschweig, on criminal liability for the sale of cannabis tea.

The case of Braunschweig's cannabis tea
Defendants in the Braunschweig case were sentenced to several months of probation for drug trafficking for selling hemp tea, which was EU-certified and low in THC (0,08% to 0,33%). The expert of the Regional Court of Braunschweig determined that the consumer could suffer intoxication with the product if he used it as a bakery ingredient, instead of putting water on it.

According to the German Narcotic Drugs Act, EU cannabis can be sold exceptionally if it “serves exclusively for commercial or scientific purposes which exclude abuse for intoxicating purposes”. The district court said the sale “to end users for consumption purposes” was prohibited, but according to the BGH ruling, that is not the case. However, the Supreme Court has pointed out that the abuse of the cannabis product for intoxication must be ruled out. The ruling means that selling cannabis tea to consumers is legal as long as no one gets intoxicated with it.

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