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EuroAMCBC in Prague with KFN+

Happy to announce my participation at EuroAMCBC in Prague on 10/31/2019. I’ll be speaking about the status quo and the future of the German Cannabis market / Ich freue mich, an der EuroAMCBC in Prag am 31.10.2019 teilzunehmen. Ich werde über den Status quo und die Zukunft des deutschen Cannabismarktes sprechen.

the-german-cannabis-report-v2-1

The Germany Cannabis Report by Prohibition Partners – with KFN+

download full report here

KAI-FRIEDRICH NIERMANN,
KFN+ LAW OFFICE, LAWYER

Medical

The market for medical cannabis has grown enormously since the change in the law. Total sales will reach €100 million by the end of 2019, with the share of finished drugs and cannabis preparations permanently exceeding unprocessed cannabis flowers. In the long term, not only will every European country set up a medical cannabis programme, but the international demand for medical cannabis will also rise steadily.

Against this background, the small quantities of cannabis grown, which have been put out to tender by the Cannabis Agency and have now been awarded for the first time, are not comprehensible. The German government currently does not want a medical cannabis industry like in Canada and the Netherlands. It is foreseeable that the tendered quantities will be far from sufficient and that imports will still be necessary over the next few years.

The Bundestag delegate Schinnenburg of the FDP wanted to know from the Federal Government in the context of a small inquiry in the Bundestag, what would happen with surplus quantities, which are possibly not needed in the local cultivation in Germany for the supply of the patients. The BfArM let it be known that such surpluses would be destroyed instead of being exported. I therefore assume that after the next regular elections in September 2021 (or earlier in the case of new elections) a new federal government will pursue a different policy and make possible a medical cannabis industry in Germany with the opportunity to export and to create thousands of new jobs. The FDP is already in favour of this.

All parties already now recognize that the research of medical cannabis must be promoted intensively. In 2018, an overarching resolution was passed in the European Parliament calling for increased research in this area and standardisation of standards within the European Union. Furthermore, the Federal Government supports a research project on medical cannabis at the University of Hohenheim.

Recreational

Popular support for the legalization of cannabis continues to grow.

In 2018, the German Hemp Association, one of the most active lobby groups for legalisation, launched a Bundestag petition with over 80,000 signatures, which the German Bundestag will have to vote on during this legislative period. In 2019, a justice campaign was launched with the aim of persuading judges and defendants to have the provisions of the Narcotics Law reviewed by the Federal Constitutional Court in the event of criminal proceedings.

It would be good if, after 25 years, the Federal Constitutional Court could once again deal with the prohibition of cannabis. In its 1994 decision, the Federal Constitutional Court gave the prosecuting authorities and politicians clear guidelines with regard to proportionality, which were never uniformly implemented. The courts have not discontinued every procedure for personal use, and the small quantity is still not uniformly regulated nationwide.
The black market has also grown considerably over the past 25 years, and the call for change from the judiciary and the municipalities has become unmistakable. In addition a state makes itself attackable, if legally a prohibition exists, which cannot be interspersed at all, and which confronts above all our police with unnecessary problems. If the purpose of the law cannot be achieved at all, existing regulations must be changed.
However, the Federal Constitutional Court is traditionally cautious if it should or would have to take action to shape the law itself. In 1994 it still said that cannabis has a certain dangerousness, which can be regulated by the legislator within the framework of its assessment prerogatives. In other words, the Federal Government and the Bundestag already know what they are doing.
If one of the cases in the justice campaign, which impressively summarizes the new scientific and legal findings, actually reaches the Federal Constitutional Court, the prospects for success are not foreseeable at all. He would be desirable.
In the meantime, all parties, with the exception of the CDU, have spoken out in favour of decriminalising consumers. The poll results of the Greens are still high, and here, too, a decision on the cannabis control law drafted by the Greens is due to be taken again in this legislative period. The Cannabis Control Act is based on a free market model, decriminalises consumers and legalises the trade in cannabis, taking strict account of social and drug prevention aspects. It can be seen as a blueprint for future legalisation, which will also generate thousands of jobs and billions in tax revenues.

However, since the grand coalition for major societal changes with the corresponding regulatory measures no longer has any strength, it can be assumed that a change in drug policy can only be expected with a new federal government at the next regular elections in September 2021. The development in Luxembourg will also be closely monitored from Germany. Luxembourg was the first country in the European Union to announce its intention to legalise cannabis and the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg called on his European colleagues to think together about a European solution.

Until then, pressure from local authorities, the police and the judiciary to introduce changes will continue to increase. Furthermore, several municipalities want to test the distribution of cannabis to adults in pilot projects. So far, however, these applications have always failed at the BfArM.

CBD

The CBD industry not only has to struggle with the fact that health-related statements are not possible due to the proximity to pharmaceutical law, but since March 2019 also with an amended entry in the Novel Catalogue of the European Union. Since then, a few sales bans have been issued against manufacturers and distributors, but not uniformly and on a large scale throughout the country. Even large retail chains have taken CBD products off their shelves again under pressure from the authorities.

Strictly speaking, only nicotine-free e-liquids with CBD are currently marketable. This does not apply to foods and dietary supplements obtained by an extraction process based on a specific enrichment of cannabinoids.

The necessary degree of legal clarity and predictability to develop a functioning industry with growth prospects on a sustainable basis is currently completely lacking.

The situation could only improve if companies applied for authorisation as novel foods for their products. Such an application has so far only been made once, for an isolate product in 2016, and has not yet been decided.

Another possibility would be for court proceedings to decide whether the application of the Novell Food Regulation to CBD products is legal at all. There are enough arguments against this, since hemp extracts have been used as food for centuries and only the technology for food production has improved. The fact that supercritical CO2 extraction is considered a safe process for food production is also expressly stated in several European regulations.

But even the large retail chains are reluctant to take legal action and give in to official orders. On the other hand, there are many black sheep whose products have unlawful health claims and do not even contain the ingredients that are stated on the packaging. Furthermore, it is not clear whether basic food production standards, such as hygiene and traceability rules, are always met.

Germany and Europe are also waiting for uniform industry standards that guarantee both the necessary level of consumer safety and reliable development prospects for the industry.

The EIHA (European Industrial Hemp Association) as a European industry association has addressed this problem and is developing various activities to define these standards at European level with the Commission. For example, a position paper has recently been sent to the European Commission calling for the authorisation of natural cannabis extracts in cosmetics and a corresponding change in the Cosing register with good arguments. The outdated and too strict THC guideline values in foodstuffs are also discussed by the EIHA with Brussels. These efforts also remain to be seen.

Cannabis Control Act, Product Safety and Vaping Crisis in the USA

Original Link on Leafly.de in German

Another aspect that determines the current discussion about the legalization of Cannabis, besides the already discussed aspect of social responsibility, is the often poor quality of the products available on the black market in Germany. Here, too, the Cannabis Control Act offers detailed regulations, which we would like to look at in detail today.

But first a word about the current vaping crisis in the USA. The market figures from the legalized US states and Canada show that 50 % of the market will be divided into smokables and extracts. Smokables are dried and unprocessed flowers as well as prefabricated joints for immediate consumption. Whereas the extracts „thc-infused“ are Vape Pens, Edibles and Beverages.
Now there were several 100 diseases and 7 deaths in the USA, which are said to have been related to E-Liquids containing THC. The products are said to have been available both on the black market and on the regulated market. The authorities are still trying with all urgency to clarify the causes. The first suspicions are that manufacturers have used additives that have caused the problems in the entire interaction and under heating.

For the just developing legal cannabis market in the USA, but also worldwide, this „vaping crisis“ is not a good signal. A panic is also not indicated, as it seems to be a very limited regional problem for the time being. However, the American legal system is designed to regulate and „tame“ the industry more through legal actions than through legal regulations. We can therefore expect a wave of lawsuits soon, which could bring the whole industry to a standstill. California was the first US state to introduce strict test methods for THC cartridges at the beginning of the year.

If we look at the Cannabis Control Act, product safety is another central component of this draft law. Thus, according to § 9 the

– the name of the placing on the market and the address of the manufacturer,
– the land of cultivation,
– the weight of the charge in grams,
– the date of harvest of the variety,
– the date of maximum durability,
– the list of other ingredients and
– the percentages of THC and at least one other cannabinoid, usually CBD,

must be specified.

Traceability is thus ensured. The consumer should also be able to assess the potential of the product he has purchased.
Furthermore, detailed warnings on the packaging and a package leaflet are prescribed, which must list contraindications and explain appropriate precautions, especially in the case of interactions. For proper application, the necessary instructions on dosage, type of application and duration of action, and instructions in the event of overdosage must be provided, among other things.

In § 10, which is expressly titled consumer protection, it is regulated that cannabis may not be placed on the market,
– if it has not been manufactured and tested in accordance with the state of the art in science and technology;
– mixing with tobacco products or alcohol is not permitted;
– Plant protection products, fertilizers, stock pesticides or pesticides may only be present in fixed maximum quantities.

Furthermore, the cannabis may
– not be contaminated with substances likely to endanger health, and
– not contain additives which are not clearly identified.

The problems with the partly poor quality of the cannabis flowers available on the black market in Germany, to which dangerous and even poisonous substances are partly added in order to increase the weight and thus the profit, have been well known for decades.

With these two paragraphs, the Cannabis Control Act aims to ensure the product safety of the future regulated market. This ensures that the consumer is protected from inferior and bad products from the black market or from dubious manufacturers.
This, of course, presupposes that these regulations are also strictly enforced and regularly reviewed. It must not be the case that, as in the Wild West, specialist shops are opened that are not licensed and the authorities do not follow suit in enforcing the licensing requirement. One might imagine one or the other corner in Berlin or another German city where something like this can happen.

Another challenge is the extensive control of the quality of the new cannabis products. In detail, it is still completely unclear and not regulated how it can always be ensured that only products with the required quality are put on the market.
For the new cannabis products, the extracts, there are already many legal provisions which must also be observed. Since THC and CBD have so-called CAS numbers (Chemical Abstract Numbers), they are subject to the European CLP and REACH regulations, with the corresponding additional requirements for product labelling. The Product Safety Act continues to apply to e-liquids, and the Tobacco Product Act will soon also apply to nicotine free liquids in Germany.

In the case of food products containing THC, there are also extensive food regulations.

As a rule, the legal system is structured in such a way that the entrepreneur must determine on his own responsibility which regulations apply to the products he wishes to bring onto the market. In addition, the law stipulates that a product must not endanger the safety and health of persons when used as intended or in a foreseeable manner. This must also be determined by the entrepreneur on his own responsibility. The entrepreneur must pay the greatest possible attention to product safety at every stage of economic activity, as considerable liability risks may arise.

However, there is usually no prior authorization requirement, such as for medicines, which brings us back to the vaping crisis in the USA. It is still being investigated whether the cases that have occurred are related to vitamin E acetate, which is reported to have been used in some THC concentrates. Thus, if traders, whether for greed or other reprehensible reasons, are too reckless in putting products on the market whose composition, when used as intended, cannot guarantee consumer safety, such a „crisis“ can be expected at any time.

It remains to be discussed whether the previous model, i.e. leaving it to the entrepreneur to decide first and foremost on his own responsibility whether to bring a safe product onto the market and only later to decide through controls or competition lawsuits whether this is really the case, is also suitable for the new, pharmacologically active cannabis products to come.

At least in the initial phase, as we now see in the hype surrounding CBD products, there will be many black sheep who promise the blue of the sky and whose products do not even begin to have the promised content of cannabinoids, or even worse, contain dangerous substances.

This will be the right balancing act between sufficient regulation and industry’s voluntary commitment. Strict requirements on the „compliance“ of the products pose a hurdle for market entry on the one hand, and generally already prefer larger and professional companies that can map these requirements, but on the other hand also guarantee the protection of the consumer.

In Canada, for example, where the new regulations on Edibles and Beverages will be introduced at the end of October this year, Aurora has been conducting an awareness campaign for several months now. In this campaign, the public is made aware of the new products, in particular about the effects of oral intake of THC, the dangers involved and how it can best be dosed.

After the last paragraph, the author himself sets off for a trip to the USA to get an overview of the legal markets in Colorado and California. A report will follow…

RA Kai-Friedrich Niermann
Lawyer

Kommentar zur Justizkampagne des DHV / comment on the Justice campaign of the DHV

Leafly.de about the Justice Campaing of the German Hemp Association (DHV)
https://www.leafly.de/justizkampagne-dhv-gegen-cannabisverbot/

with a comment of KFN+:

„It would be good if, after 25 years, the Federal Constitutional Court could once again deal with the prohibition of cannabis. In its 1994 decision, the Federal Constitutional Court gave the prosecuting authorities and politicians clear guidelines with regard to proportionality, which were never uniformly implemented. The courts have not discontinued every procedure for personal use, and the small quantity is still not uniformly regulated nationwide.

The black market has also grown considerably over the past 25 years, and the call for change from the judiciary and the municipalities has become unmistakable. In addition a state makes itself attackable, if legally a prohibition exists, which cannot be interspersed at all, and which confronts above all our police with unnecessary problems. If the purpose of the law cannot be achieved at all, existing regulations must be changed.

However, the Federal Constitutional Court is traditionally cautious if it should or would have to take action to shape the law itself. In 1994 it still said that cannabis has a certain dangerousness, which can be regulated by the legislator within the framework of its assessment prerogatives. In other words, the Federal Government and the Bundestag already know what they are doing.

If one of the cases in the justice campaign, which impressively summarizes the new scientific and legal findings, actually reaches the Federal Constitutional Court, the prospects for success are not foreseeable at all. He would be desirable.“

more information on the campaign:
https://hanfverband.de/richtervorlage

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KFN+ guest author on Leafly.de – The Cannabis Control Act and Social Responsibility

Column Leafly, August 2019
Kai-Friedrich Niermann, Lawyer, KFN+, Germany

The Cannabis Control Act and Social Responsibility

In the last column we dared to look into the future. Today we want to take a closer look at how a socially responsible legalisation could be implemented in practice. Here too, the Cannabis Control Act of the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Group already mentioned in the last column offers a series of proposals on how to combine the protection of minors, consumer protection and prevention.
This column is the prelude to a regular series in which various aspects of the Cannabis Control Act and a possible legalisation of cannabis are presented and examined with a view to their practical implementation. As the law is a fully elaborated draft that takes into account fiscal aspects as well as foreign trade law and international obligations, it is likely that the Cannabis Control Act will be the blueprint for any reform towards a more modern drug policy. In this respect, it is worthwhile to take a detailed look at the regulations proposed there from time to time.

Social Concepts

The Cannabis Control Act provides for the approval of so-called cannabis specialist shops. Specialist cannabis shops directly attached to an agricultural holding may even bear the name „farm shop“.

Specialist cannabis shops may not be operated in the immediate vicinity of a school or other facility for children and adolescents. The federal states are authorized to regulate minimum distances between specialist cannabis shops and to set a maximum number of specialist shops.

The prescribed social concepts are a central component of the Cannabis Control Act. Before opening a specialist cannabis shop, a representative for the development of a social concept must be appointed, who develops a social concept for the specialist cannabis shop. This social concept must set out measures relating to the prevention of addiction, the protection of minors and the training of sales staff. Section 23 (2) even expressly states that risky cannabis use must be counteracted.

The sales personnel shall also refuse to hand over the goods if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the goods have been passed on to children and adolescents. Before entering a cannabis specialist shop, an identity card check must be carried out to prevent the entry of adolescents and children. Sales staff must also provide consumers with adequate advice.

“Responsible Selling“ Certificate

To meet these requirements, sales personnel must have successfully participated in a training course and obtained a certificate called „Responsible Selling“. These training courses are to be held at the state or specialist agencies for addiction prevention or at comparably qualified institutions. This certificate is valid for two years and must be extended by further training.
In order to obtain this certificate, future cannabis sellers must demonstrate knowledge of cannabis use, in particular how cannabis works and is dangerous, and how risky patterns of use can be identified at an early stage. There is also a need to acquire knowledge on how to prevent cannabis dependence and how to refer people to counselling centres or treatment centres. The sales staff should inform the customers about the addiction risks of the cannabis products on offer and provide information about harm reduction in forms of consumption such as vaping or tobacco-free consumption.

Information material on risks of consumption and information and contact data on qualified counselling centres and therapy facilities shall be clearly visible.

Practical implementation

These rules make it clear that cannabis is not an ordinary product that can be sold like chips or chewing gum in petrol stations or supermarkets. The dealer doesn’t care who he sells his stuff to, but the cannabis control law does. The Cannabis Control Act is well aware that cannabis products have a pharmacological and psychoactive effect and that trade and sales require appropriate regulations and precautions.

The regulations ensure that children and adolescents are not given access to cannabis products. Customers with a risky consumption pattern, possibly a dependency, must be advised accordingly. The question whether the supply of cannabis products must also be refused in these cases cannot be answered unequivocally from the law.

The costs for the preparation of a corresponding social concept will not be insignificant for the operator of the specialist shop. So far we know such social concepts only with casino halls, with which a concept must be presented for the conversion of player and youth protection in gambling enterprises. Assuming that 5-8 billion € are actually traded on the black market, a huge number of specialist cannabis shops can be expected in the long run. Here alone, there are immense opportunities for company start-ups in the certification and training sector, as the social associations most probably cannot handle the task on their own.

The costs for the creation of a social concept for casino halls are currently around 2000 €. It is doubtful whether this amount will be sufficient for the initial licensing of a specialist cannabis shop. Too many complicated questions, as outlined above, are likely to lead to significantly higher costs, at least in the initial phase. The certificate „Responsible Selling“ should cost several 1000 € depending on the design and the scope of the training contents. Nor will it be easy to find motivated personnel with the appropriate know-how to provide consumers with sufficiently responsible advice in accordance with the law and to provide the required addiction prevention.

The barriers are therefore high for those interested in entering the cannabis retail market. In addition there are further costs for security measures, because according to § 14 certified safes are to be kept available, and rooms and transport vehicles are to be secured against removal by an alarm system or corresponding security measure. In addition, there are the costs for furnishing and initial inventory.

However, these high barriers to market entry are to be welcomed as they ensure the necessary level of consumer protection. On the other hand, it is to be expected that the required degree of compliance can only be achieved by professional and financially strong chains and brands. As larger professional economic entities, however, they are also better controllable overall.
Under the Cannabis Control Act, advertising is prohibited. Cannabis may only be advertised in specialist journals for professional circles. The external appearance of the specialist cannabis shops should be discreet so that it cannot have an incitatory or incentive character.

For those who wish to grow the plant themselves, the cultivation of up to three female flowering cannabis plants for personal or community use is permitted. In the pacified property of the breeder, under the condition of good security and that children and adolescents have no access, it is also permitted to store an annual harvest of up to three plants, even deviating from the otherwise applicable limit of 30 g own property.

Whether an advertising ban for cannabis is really effective should still be clarified. In this respect, it is the sole responsibility of the sales staff to provide information about the various products and their effects. However, information on cannabis use and widespread education will be essential to enable consumers to make important choices. Here, more differentiated regulations should be reconsidered in detail.

The same applies to whether a ban on mail-order sales in accordance with § 11 (2) really makes sense. By restricting distribution to specialty stores, the goal of preventing risky consumption is achieved. If it is ensured that risky consumption can be ruled out, for example through regular introductions in specialist shops, there is nothing wrong with a mail order business.
It should also be explicitly regulated whether it is allowed to consume in specialty shops, similar to coffee shops in the Netherlands, and at least whether non-alcoholic beverages can be offered. However, since the Cannabis Control Act does not explicitly provide for this, this possibility is to be assumed for the time being.

Both aspects, mail order and local consumption, would limit the traffic with and consumption of cannabis in the public image, which would at least be worth a further discussion.

Result:

The Cannabis Control Act with the regulations governing specialist shops describes a balanced system of social responsibility, in which the interests of users and consumers consistently come first. With these regulations a socially responsible legalization is possible. The lack of education and prevention associated with the black market would have come to an end.
However, many questions remain unanswered in detail. The best time to start discussing it is now!

Dried flowers account for only 50 % of consumption in legalised markets. A similar development can also be expected in Germany. In the next column we will therefore deal with new cannabis products and their product safety.

Original link

CLI2019

I am pleased to announce my participation at the Pre-Conference Day of the Cannabis Law Institute, the annual educational event of the International Cannabis Bar Association, at the 3rd of October in New York!

„As additional jurisdictions consider regulations for hemp, CBD, medical, and adult-use cannabis, this full-day program focuses on international law and issues facing the international legal community as additional jurisdictions consider regulations for hemp, CBD, medical and adult-use cannabis.“

https://www.canbar.org/2019-cannabis-law-institute#!event-register/2019/9/1/cannabis-law-institute

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KFN+ guest author on Leafly.de – a glimpse into the future

Everybody is talking about cannabis and products from the cannabis plant. Gone are the days when you couldn’t even take the word into your mouth to avoid being immediately considered a useless pothead. The mainstream and the tabloid press report almost daily on cannabis and hemp, be it regarding local developments or international trends, especially from the USA and Canada. It’s time for Germany and its government to wake up and not simply oversleep and leave the field to others to take advantage of the enormous opportunities the plant offers. In his new column, lawyer, industrial consultant and cannabis expert Kai-Friedrich Niermann takes a look into the future.

Nearly all countries in the world are members of the UN Standard Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty aimed at restricting the availability of some drugs, including cannabis. According to this international treaty, cannabis is on a par with heroin because of its dangerousness. As a result of membership in this agreement, the Narcotics Law (BtMG) and its Annexes were introduced in Germany. It is still in force today and punishes the possession, trade, cultivation and importation of cannabis. That must change in the future.

The consequences of prohibition are well known: 500-800 tonnes of cannabis flowers and hashish traded exclusively on the black market, without any quality control and access restrictions for adolescents. Hundreds of thousands of criminal proceedings are conducted which, according to the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 1994, as a rule have to be discontinued. This ties up considerable resources in the police and judiciary.

Cannabis is not new territory

The inclined reader will already be aware of these facts. The same goes for the Greens, the FDP and the Left, which are explicitly in favour of a more modern drugs policy. As early as 2017, the Greens tabled the so-called Cannabis Control Act in the Bundestag, which, based on a free market model, legalises the trade in cannabis in a socially responsible manner and decriminalises its users. Social concepts, prevention and education have top priority in this bill. Of course this law failed at that time because of the votes of the Grand Coalition.

„The world wakes up. Cannabis is nothing new. Governments have a choice. You can ignore it, then criminals will take care of it. Or they regulate it, make money with it and educate society,“ said Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy, one of the world’s largest cannabis companies, in a recent interview.

It is to be hoped that the remaining conservative and social-democratic doubters will reconsider their drug policy position in this sense in order to initiate the urgently needed social progress in drug policy for the future.

A look into the future: is legalisation coming, and if so, when?

However, legalisation may come sooner than we all suspect. The upheavals in the grand coalition will presumably lead to new elections more quickly than previously assumed despite all the conjurations of stability. Let’s take a cautious look at the future.

The following three scenarios with the corresponding probabilities were conceivable before the European elections:

Scenario 1: December 2019 Legalization, probability – low (10 %)
The European elections in May end in a disaster for the Grand Coalition and lead to the dismissal and new elections in September 2019. The Greens become members of the new federal government and the passing of the Cannabis Control Act by the Greens in December 2019.

Scenario 2: December 2021 Legalization, probability – high (80 %)
The Grand Coalition will rule until September 2021 and the next federal elections. At that time, cannabis was re-evaluated by the UN. And all parties, including many conservative deputies, agreed in December 2021 on legalization with the cannabis control law as a model.

Scenario 3: No change until 2025 , Probability – low (10 %)
The Grand Coalition will rule until September 2021 and the next federal elections. All parties negotiating for the next government coalition are against a fundamental change in drug policy in the field of cannabis. No change until the next elections in 2025.

So if there are early elections and a progressive coalition of the Greens (possibly with a Green Chancellor), the Social Democrats and the Left is formed, it is hard to imagine that a cannabis control law will not be passed, even if the details change or remain controversial.

Need for innovation in medical cannabis in the future

A cannabis industry, even a medical one, is currently undesirable by the government. The quantities tendered for domestic production are very small. They will hardly be able to meet the ever-increasing needs of patients. The growers who have been awarded the contract are also unlikely to be able to operate profitably with these quantities and the large number of conditions to be fulfilled.

It is foreseeable that all European countries will launch a medical cannabis programme. The demand for reliable and high quality medical cannabis products will continue to grow. A European harmonisation of the individual medical cannabis programmes would therefore, incidentally, be highly desirable, so that research and trade can develop better in Europe. Instead, however, the BfArM lets it be known upon request that it would rather destroy surplus, provoked demand than think about an export strategy.

A small ray of hope is the recent establishment of a German-Canadian research network on the initiative of the University of Hohenheim (Leafly.de reported). The funding is provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (although only due to pressure from companies). The network currently consists of four Canadian and seven German partners and aims to optimise the cultivation of pharmaceutical cannabis in Germany. Research will focus on genetics and harvesting technology.

Regulations harm more than they use

Also the cultivation of hemp for farming purposes in Germany is still strictly regulated. The BfArM only hesitantly and rarely approves scientific research projects on cannabis. After all, it is all too understandable that the officials who for decades were responsible for enforcing prohibition now find it difficult to introduce change.

This is why opportunities for a domestic medical cannabis industry, for research and innovation, and especially many new jobs, are frivolously wasted here. Also in this respect one will have to wait possibly first for a change of government, so that at the top of Federal Ministry of Health, drug commissioner, BfArM and BfR (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) something changes.

Regulations and laws of the day before yesterday

The already legal cannabis and hemp products are also subject to regulations from the last century. The century of prohibition. For example, manufacturers of hemp foods have to fight for compliance with extremely low limit THC-values, which were already set by the BfR before the year 2000. In the opinion of the Nova Institute, these strict limits contradict current scientific findings and must be urgently adapted in order to avoid competitive disadvantages for the German and European hemp industry. If these limits were applied to alcohol, bread or orange juice would no longer be marketable, according to the Nova Institute.

Novel Food – and now?

But it is not only the medical cannabis programmes and the THC limit values of the individual Member States that need to be harmonised. In particular, a uniform application of the Novell Food Regulation throughout Europe must be ensured. At the moment several member states of the European Union are using the Novel Food Regulation to stop the popular CBD products in particular.

Not least because the cannabis plant is still stigmatised and the emergence of these numerous products is immense, especially in countries where cannabis is traditionally used in a restrictive way. In Spain, Portugal, France and most recently Austria, there is no CBD market at all. Italy may be facing a similar development. However, the purpose of a European regulation cannot be for each country to interpret the application in its own way. Rather, a uniform and harmonised legal framework must be created for the entire EU.

CBD in cosmetics

The legal situation with CBD in cosmetics is equally absurd. Article 14 of the European Cosmetic Decree, which refers to the above-mentioned Single Convention, prohibits the use of CBD extracts in cosmetics. However, it allows the use of synthetic CBD. Companies are thus prevented from using naturally extracted cannabidiol and have to resort instead to a synthetic variant. This is also an obsolete consequence of the Conventional War on Cannabis, which should be changed in the future. (More about this in the last column. )

Many tasks for a new German federal government, but also for the new top European personnel that will form after the European elections.

Original link: https://www.leafly.de/kolumne-recht-zukunft/

Author’s info:
Kai-Friedrich Niermann has been a lawyer since 2003 and advises companies and organisations in all questions of commercial and contract law. Already during his studies at the Philipps University in Marburg he dealt with prohibition, since in 1994 a groundbreaking judgement of the Supreme Court was issued for own needs. After medical cannabis was legalized in 2017, he started a blog on legal aspects around cannabis (canna-biz.legal) and the distribution of new cannabis products. Kai speaks regularly at international conferences on the German and European legal framework for cannabis products, next at the First Asia Hemp Summit in Hong Kong.

Most recently he spoke at the ICBC Berlin and CNBS in Dortmund on the subject of CBD. He also regularly publishes articles on the online platforms Prohibition Partners, Cannabis Law Report and is quoted by the Canadian Globe and Mail. Today Kai advises national and international medical cannabis producers and CBD manufacturers. Kai is a member of the German Hemp Association, the European Industrial Hemp Association and the International Cannabis Bar Association, an international association of lawyers advising on cannabis.