Czech President Miloš Zeman this week signed a law that establishes the limit for THC in industrial hemp at 1.0%. That makes the Czech Republic the first European country to strike out ahead of other member states in going beyond current EU guidance that sets the barrier between “non-drug cannabis” – hemp – and “drug cannabis” at 0.2% THC.
The European Parliament voted last October to increase the authorized THC level for industrial hemp “on the field” from 0.2% to 0.3% in the EU, but that change is not expected to be in effect until 2023. In the meantime, member states are in the process of reviewing their national laws ahead of the updated THC limit. The changes in the Czech Republic show stakeholders and legislators see the need to further free up the crop, and could lead to other member states following suit, stakeholders have said.
Many countries around the world are establishing 1.0% THC as their national limits, breaking with the generally accepted global guidance of 0.3% that has been observed since hemp re-emerged in the 1990s.
Other provisions in the new law, which amends the Czech Republic’s Public Health Insurance and Addictive Substances Act, provide Czech citizens with easier access to innovative and orphan drugs based on cannabis. The changes will let multiple licensed private groups be authorized to manufacture medical cannabis products. Proponents say that will expand the availability and diversity of cannabis medicines through competition certain to drive down prices to patients.