Poland’s Chief Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS) has blocked the registration and sales of a CBD product from the Polish firm Dobre Konopie (DK) but other Polish producers of CBD, sold on the domestic market as a dietary supplement, don’t fear a broader crackdown. Some of DK’s other CBD products continue to be available on the Polish market – and there are as many as 80 total CBD products from a range of Polish and foreign companies already at some stage in the GIS registration process. One of those is from Poland’s Institute of Natural Fibres (IWNiRZ), which reports directly to the government via the Ministry of Agriculture; it continues to produce and sell its Hemp Element brand of hemp oil drops in conjunction with Warsaw-based Hemp Medicals, with distribution via apothecaries.
A fast rejection; reason unclear
“In this case, the reason for the rejection does seem a bit unclear,” said Maciej Kowalski, CEO of HemPoland, the leading national producer whose CannabiGold brand CBD is already present in a number of European markets. “But I am far from certain about seeing this as ‘good hemp producers vs. evil government’,” Kowalski said. “This is NOT a war waged by the government agency to destroy the industry, but GIS doing its job to keep the market clear.”
Many companies that file a request to register dietary supplements in Poland do not fulfill basic requirements of food safety, don’t send their products for regular quality inspection, and make illegal medical claims, noted Kowalski, who says it’s critical that leading Polish producers work closely with GIS to set rules and quality standards for hemp-based products. Those should address such things as mislabelling, contamination, the development of proper analytical reports and batch traceability, he said.
Workable standards, workable market
“Setting precise standards in cooperation with major players in the market would create a win-win situation for consumers’ safety and for the hundreds of people already employed” in Poland’s nascent hemp industry, Kowalski added.
Under the existing regime, makers of dietary supplements in Poland must apply to register their plant-based products, and their production facilities must undergo inspection by GIS. But in practice, the firms have been allowed to begin marketing even before approval as long as the packaging meets certain guidelines regarding health claims and displays information on the components contained in the product, including active substances, Polish legal experts have said.
What seemed odd in the DK case was the uncommon speed with which GIS turned down Dobre Konopie’s application – which was sought only in the process of rebranding a CBD supplement already on the market. Uncustomarily, GIS rejected DK’s registration application almost immediately upon its submission.
Notes on cannabis & hemp in Poland
Medical cannabis in Poland seemed to be moving along this year, with seminars and hearings in government circles and with considerable support among the public. That was all quickly – and a bit surprisingly – smashed by governing Law & Justice party leaders, however, at the end of November when they basically just said “nope to dope.” Effect on hemp? CBD is on the market in Poland. And although it’s not marketed as medicine, it’s in many apothecaries and lifestyle-related outlets.
Meanwhile, the market for hemp products generally in Poland is in a solid growth trend as local producers and vendors see strong demand, which is being fed by a group of mostly young entrepreneurs (farmers, processors and marketers) dealing in food, soft drinks, cosmetics, clothing, accessories and building materials; and with some interesting research going on. With the advancements in Polish hemp so far stretching from farm to shelf (hemp seed-based food products have begun showing up in major supermarket chains, for example), we’re doubtful the government’s attitude on marijuana will have much bearing on the hemp sector itself. But you never know.