Hempro International wants to have the import of hemp leaves from Austria to Germany legally secured by means of a general ruling. For this reason, the Düsseldorf-based company has submitted a corresponding application to the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). The Austrian hemp leaves are to go on sale in Germany as hemp tea „Nature“ and hemp tea „Lemon“.
The rubbed hemp leaves made from commercial hemp are „Made in Austria“ and can be freely marketed without restriction in the Alpine Republic, as they do not fall under the Austrian Narcotic Drugs Act. The reason: With a THC content below 0.3% (THC maximum content for industrial hemp in Austria) or below 0.2% (current THC maximum content for industrial hemp in Germany), the hemp leaves are anything but suitable for obtaining intoxicating „drugs“. The marketability certificates of the products as foodstuffs in Austria are of course available.
Daniel Kruse, managing director of Hempro International GmbH and president of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), sees good chances for his application to the BVL to issue a general ruling:
„We are currently only allowed to sell hemp leaves in Germany if it is ensured that the purchaser produces a harmless product from the leaves or if a deliberate risk of abuse is excluded when selling to end users. For an active state of intoxication, you need to ingest around 15 mg of THC – no human being can drink, let alone smoke, that much tea made from commercial hemp leaves. This is completely out of touch with life. Such scientifically and also economically nonsensical interpretations and prejudices against industrial hemp will change through our application.“
Attorney Kai-Friedrich Niermann, who represents the company in this application, is also sure that the BVL will follow Hempro International’s argumentation and decide pro hemp tea:
„The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety must prove that our German dietary habits are contrary to an import. Only then could health protection prevent the general ruling.“
In addition, Hempro International relies on a number of recent rulings on commercial hemp:
In its ruling of March 24, 2021, the German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) declared in the so-called hemp bar case that the sale of hemp flowers and leaves to end users is not generally prohibited.
On November 19, 2020, the ECJ found that hemp extracts, and the CBD they contain, are not narcotics.
Accordingly, the supply and possession of unprocessed commercial hemp products to end users does not fall under the Narcotics Act (BtMG).
As early as 1995, useful hemp was re-evaluated at the suggestion of the Federal Minister of Health. In the context of the deliberations on the amendment of Annex 1 to the BtMG, the legislator stated as justification:
„As a result, it was determined that abuse of low-THC hemp varieties is not to be expected nowadays, because their use is neither profitable for drug dealers nor suitable for abusers (excerpt from printed matter 899/95 on the 7th BtMÄndV).“
Attorney Niermann summarizes:
„On the basis of the regulation of the Federal Government of 1995, with which the full market potential of the hemp plant was to be exhausted, and in the context of the necessary interpretation in conformity with European law, one will have to come to the conclusion that an abuse for intoxication purposes is generally excluded in the case of commercial hemp.“
Hempro International’s requested general injunction reads:
„Hemp leaves for use as herbal tea that are lawfully produced or lawfully marketed in Austria or in another Member State of the European Union or in another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, or that originate from a third country and are lawfully marketed in a Member State of the European Union or in another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, may be marketed in the Federal Republic of Germany.“