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Major Shift: German Hemp ‘Intoxication Clause’ Expected To End Soon

german hemp intoxication clause

Cannabis products that contain high percentages of THC generate a lot of headlines in Germany these days, and rightfully so. Germany recently legalized the cultivation, possession, and consumption of high-THC flower by adults, and the nation’s medical cannabis industry continues to thrive as well.

However, Germany’s domestic hemp industry is making strides too, with consumer demand for hemp-derived products trending upward. Some consumers in Germany prefer CBD products with little to no amounts of THC, as well as products derived from hemp containing ‘alternative cannabinoids’ such as delta-8 THC.

Leadership in Germany recently announced that enforcement authority for the “authorization and monitoring of the use of cannabis for scientific purposes” will be vested in the Federal Agency for Food and Agriculture. Cem Özdemir, the current Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, has indicated that a major hurdle facing Germany’s emerging hemp industry could be going away soon.

“Cem Özdemir, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, announced the abolition of the so-called “intoxication clause” at yesterday’s Parliamentary Evening of the Cannabis Industry. This special German rule means that even very low levels of THC in industrial hemp can lead to criminal liability, raids and plant closures.” stated the Cannabis Industry Association (BvCW) in its initial coverage (translated from German to English).

“In conjunction with other bureaucratic hurdles, this has hindered the use and processing of industrial hemp in Germany. This unnecessary competitive disadvantage is now finally being abolished. The cannabis industry association has campaigned intensively for this in recent years.” the Cannabis Industry Association (BvCW) also stated.

“Imagine if dealers and producers of non-alcoholic beer were subjected to raids and punished because they could distill a schnapps from the remaining alcohol. In practice, such a complex extraction does not take place with industrial hemp,” said BvCW managing director Jürgen Neumeyer. “This senseless noise clause has increasingly led to economic damage and bankruptcies in recent years. The abolition is urgently needed and we are therefore very pleased! This is an important step towards re-establishing the German industrial hemp industry. We look forward to a draft from the BMEL and will continue to support the parliamentary process constructively.”

Soon, Germany will launch social cannabis clubs and adult-use cannabis commerce pilot trials. Adult consumers will be able to become members of a social club and/or join a local pilot trial and legally source cannabis products that contain THC.

As previously mentioned, adults in Germany can already cultivate high-THC cannabis in their homes as of April 1st, 2024. Punishing people for cultivating or consuming hemp-derived products is more ridiculous than ever.

Cannabis advocates have long pushed for this type of reform, including in the lead-up to the passage of the new CanG bill. Unfortunately, opponents were able to maintain the status quo under the premise that consumers could make intoxicating products out of hemp.

“If access to THC-containing flowers is to be made possible through clubs and home cultivation anyway, why should anyone go to the trouble of extracting low doses of THC from CBD flowers for several hours in their own home workshop?” pointed out in its initial reporting.

“Speaking at the International Cannabis Business Conference Berlin last year, industry veteran and President of EIHA Daniel Kruse said: “I would simply cancel this clause. All stakeholders will advocate for its abolition.” Business of Cannabis stated in its initial reporting.

“The debate about the ‘misuse of hemp’ needs to be brought to an end. Hemp has huge potential if the clause is abolished. Industrial hemp would lead to more sales than medical and recreational put together in Germany.” Daniel Kruse also stated at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin according to Business of Cannabis.

In addition to causing headaches in Germany, the lack of comprehensive hemp and CBD industry reform has also caused similar issues throughout Europe. The European CBD and hemp-derived consumables industries are here to stay, and governments at all levels would be wise to work toward harmonizing related laws, rules, and regulations.