BERLIN – The 6th Criminal Senate of the German Supreme Court (BGH) handed down a judgement that the sale to end consumers of hemp flowers and leaves is not prohibited. This ruling effectively overturned a lower-court judgement from Braunschweig Regional Court which sentenced the owners of a business selling hemp tea to jail, for breaching the German narcotics law.
Intoxicant versus Non-Intoxicating?
The Lower Court sentenced several people to jail for selling low THC (0.08% to 0.33%) hemp tea. German Narcotics laws permits cannabis to be sold only if it “serves exclusively commercial or scientific purposes that exclude abuse for intoxicating purposes.‘’ The Supreme Court ruling drew a distinction between hemp tea that gets you high versus non psychoactive hemp tea with the low THC levels. Essentially, this means that selling hemp tea to consumers is legal provided no one gets high.
The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) welcomed the ruling.
EIHA considers the judgment of the German Federal Court of Justice as a significant milestone for the European industrial hemp sector, as it means a step forward in achieving legal security.
“The ruling of the BGH is in line with the judgment of the ECJ of November 2020. Both rulings clearly determine that industrial hemp and parts of the industrial hemp plant are per se not narcotic and thus not subject to the Single Convention or national narcotics laws. This is not only a legal paradigm shift for Germany in the assessment of industrial hemp and German narcotic laws, but it leads the way for a scientific approach regarding THC”, said Mr. Daniel Kruse, EIHA President in a press release on March 25th.
“Low-THC industrial hemp is no longer to be criminalized. It is clear now that it is rather the actual intake of the psychoactive substance THC that matters. The ruling of the German Federal Supreme Court is hence a landmark decision for the successful development of the hemp industry in Europe,” according to the release.
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