Proposed law in Czech Republic would put tight restrictions on CBD

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While the Czech government eventually backed off a plan to ban CBD earlier this year, a draft law would put such products under tight restrictions.

A draft currently under debate would eliminate advertising of both hemp-derived CBD and kratom, a mild psychoactive that can be addictive. But the final shape of the legislation is still being debated.

The measure carries a blanket ban on advertising of the two substances in all forms of media, event sponsorships and high-profile endorsements. Also, sale to minors would be illegal, retailers would be required to obtain licenses to sell the products, and penalties for illegal trafficking in the substances would be increased.

Defining 2 substances

The proposed legislation separately defines “psychomodulating substances” and “psychoactive substances.”

CBD is considered a psychomodulatory substance – one that modifies or modulates the central nervous system. Such substances represent a low risk of negative health or social impacts, and are not included on international drug lists, with regulation left to individual states.  

The European Commission ruled in December 2020 that CBD is not a narcotic and can be classified as a food if it meets relevant provisions in EU food legislation. The ruling also declared that CBD products should enjoy the same free movement of goods between and among member states as other legal products.

Kratom is considered a psychoactive substance as defined in the proposed measure – one “for which health risks cannot be ruled out based on current scientific knowledge.” It is not, however, considered a drug in international conventions.

Flip-flop on CBD

CBD is sold in the Czech Republic in such forms as oils, tinctures, capsules, gummies and other edibles, and is in many health and beauty products on the market. 

After the Ministry of Health announced its intention to ban CBD products altogether in April this year, the Czech government flip-flopped and eventually decided to establish clear rules for their control and sale.

The first changes came under an amendment passed in July that addressed synthetic psychoactive products such as HHC and delta-8 THC, which are made from hemp-derived CBD. That legislation restricted sales of such products to those over 18 under supervision of a sales attendant, and banned vending machine sales and all advertising.

Under specific other rules in the proposed measure affecting CBD and kratom:

  • Sales are restricted to specialized stores, and retailers must register with the government and pay a fee of roughly €5,000.
  • Products must pass laboratory tests and obtain certificates indicating the concentration of active substances, and must otherwise be checked for quality.
  • Stores that offer the products must post signs that consumers under 18 are not allowed to enter them. 
  • Physical outlets and e-shops must separate the substances from other products in their offers.
  • Packaging must indicate if the products are “psychomodulatory” or “psychoactive,” with the substances identified by name, subtype and form; recommended dosage must also be included.
  • Free gifts and samples may not be distributed.

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