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Hemp And CBD To Be Removed From German Narcotics Act Bringing An End To Business Prosecutions



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Photo: DR | Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung -

While Germany's cannabis bill has received mixed responses, the country's hemp industry has welcomed the latest developments. Earlier this month, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) confirmed the suspended prison sentences of two CBD flower traders.

This was the last in a long list of similar decisions, with possibly hundreds of similar cases to be heard by the country's courts – which continue to view hemp/CBD as having narcotic properties.

However, it is understood that the country's new cannabis regulations should ultimately remove hemp/CBD products from the German Narcotics Act.

This article was originally published by Peter McCusker in BusinessCann

Removal of the Narcotics Act

This direction was welcomed by Jürgen Neumeyer, managing director of Cannabis Business Industry Association (BvCW). Neumeyer told BusinessCann that it looks like “in the future, cannabis – and therefore also commercial hemp and CBD – will be completely removed from the German Narcotics Act.”

He added: “The complete removal of cannabis from BtMG is welcomed as a constructive proposal by the cannabis industry. In addition to stimulant regulation, a credible legal framework for medical cannabis and industrial hemp products, including products with non-intoxicating cannabinoids such as CBD, is important to the BvCW.”

The full key points document was released publicly on Wednesday following last week's leaks, providing more clarity on the government's plans regarding CBD and industrial hemp.

The plans confirmed that adult-use, medical and industrial hemp will 'no longer be legally classified as narcotics' if the proposals are passed into law, and that the conditions of the legal framework will be 'set out in a separate law' from the Act. of Narcotics.

The document (translated into English) also said: “The maximum THC value for industrial hemp should be set at 0,3%, for example, according to EU law which will apply from 1 January 2023. XNUMX. Special regulations may have to be made for handling cannabidiol (CBD) products.”

German cannabis lawyer Kai-Friedrich Niermann told BusinessCann that he had access to the Federal Ministry of Health briefings on the matter and explained: “A new cannabis control law, as proposed in the key points document, would completely remove cannabis. of the existing narcotics law and would re-regulate it, as the Green Party's cannabis control bill already provides.

“Anything above a THC content of 0,3% is then cannabis and is subject to the regulations of the new law, meaning cultivation and distribution must be licensed.

Eliminated 'intoxication abuse'

“Everything below that threshold is industrial hemp and is no longer subject to restrictions as we know them until now. Industrial hemp could still be grown exclusively by farmers, but trade would then be possible without license and restriction.

“In particular, the previous element of the crime in Schedule 1 of the Narcotics Act, 'abuse for the purpose of intoxication', would then be eliminated and could no longer be used by law enforcement authorities to criminalize commercial hemp and its derivatives.”

On October 14, the Federal Court upheld the convictions of two CBD flower traders, with their suspended sentences including several years in prison. At the time, the BvCW warned that more convictions were imminent, in addition to a ban on the marketing of various hemp products on the market.

With nearly 900 hemp farms in Germany, the BvCW warned that it threatened their livelihoods and criminal convictions for hundreds, possibly thousands of people in the industry.

In a press release, it continued: “The BvCW has noticed an increase in criminal prosecution measures and is therefore appealing to Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach to finally implement the recommendation of the BfArM expert who reports to him.” .

The press releases quoted cannabis attorney Ferdinand Weiss as saying: “The BGH Criminal 6th Senate has now ruled that CBD flowers – provided they have not been de-resinized or contain only trace amounts of THC in negligible amounts – are narcotics, since that the abuse of these products for intoxicating purposes cannot be ruled out.”

The Hanfbar Case

The precedents for this punitive action were set at an earlier hearing – dubbed the Hanfbar case – that revolved around the sale of hemp tea.

In that case, the BGH said the provisions of Germany's Narcotics Act "do not generally prohibit the sale of hemp flowers and leaves to end customers for consumption purposes."

However, it went on to say that it had a potential intoxicating effect and therefore the potential for misuse existed in the case of oral ingestion of hemp flowers in the form of cookies.

Regarding ongoing criminal proceedings and possible amnesties for those who had already been convicted, Niermann added: “Criminal proceedings in progress can already be closed immediately, after the entry into force of the new law under the current provisions of criminal procedural law.” .

And, regarding cannabis convictions, Niermann said retrospective amnesties are being considered: “The key issues document mentions the possibility of erasing convictions from the Federal Central Register that would no longer be punishable under the new law and confirms that rehabilitation more far-reaching and amnesty provisions are being examined”.

According to the key points document, when the new regulations come into effect, “ongoing investigations and criminal prosecutions” will be terminated.

In addition, 'convictions entered in the Federal Central Register exclusively registered for an act for which the law no longer provides for a sanction in the future (namely the possession, acquisition and cultivation of cannabis up to a maximum quantity of 20 to 30 grams or three plants with feminized flowers)' will be eradicated.


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