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It’s Critical That German CBD Law Matches EU Law

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After a brew ha ha over hemp tea that made its way to federal court, there is a renewed call domestically to homogenize German law with European ruling. Is “Trickle Down Reform” from the EU a better way to handle cannabis reform?

In an indeterminate case in March, a case involving hemp tea made its way to the German federal court but the ruling did not clear up the status of hemp in the country. It is still considered a “narcotic” under German law (even though on a European level this has now been cleared up).

The case however is indicative of a larger problem that exists across Europe. The first is that the status of cannabis generally has not been determined across the region. The ruling on CBD by the European Commission last fall may have given the EU its “2018 Farm Bill” but there are much bigger issues to deal with still in the room. Think, for example, how largely ineffective the U.S. legislation has been with dealing with the vast majority of problems facing just the American industry.

This is why the European Cannabis Association was formed (to begin to move the bigger ticket items forward from cultivation through end distribution). There is an urgent need to do the same as even the Spanish government is finally moving (as the last larger economy in Europe) to recognize the medical efficacy of the plant.

Beyond that, however, there is then the problem of adoption of sovereign states of any European-wide decision on cannabis. In this case, the cry has been taken up by the hemp company involved in the German case as well as the German Cannabis Industry Association.

It is clear that it is critical that German law be in alignment with EU-wide decrees on cannabis – but what is the best approach to make this happen? Is hemp the real door opener, or rather cannabis generally? And further, now that EU policy has been set on the same, why focus on anything other than comprehensive reform and policies?

If the US is any indication, it is discussions about the entire plant which make a real difference. Without regulation on a federal level, the U.S. states are proceeding on policies that themselves will have to be changed again with a national policy change. The “hemp exception” made zero difference in any state in the U.S. when it has come to actual reform. Indeed, this has been used as window dressing to stave off the larger discussions – namely all of the ones involved in comprehensive regulation except for the level of THC allowed in hemp.

This means that in Europe, it is critical for sovereign organizations and groups to begin to unite under a single umbrella to push reform at a regional level, and in Brussels. And for the whole plant, not just part of it.

Indeed, in the recent tea case, it was the EU decision that was the deciding case law, not the German Narcotics Act. While it is painful for individual members of the industry to get caught in changing gears of regulatory requirements, it is also critical for the companies within it to realize that organization in Europe must happen regionally first, not locally, for real change to come at a legislative and legal level now.

Be sure to book your tickets now to the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Europe this summer.