Europe, Farming, Legislation

German lawmakers delay changes that would help hemp industry

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A coalition of German political parties postponed action on reforms stakeholders say would help ease the bureaucracy for hemp farmers and producers.

A motion brought the by the Left Party and the Greens, “Fully Exploiting the Potential of Industrial Hemp Cultivation,” was rejected by the CDU/CSU, SPD and AfD parties, implying the matter should be taken up by the next Bundestag, according to a press statement from the Cannabis Business Industry Association (BvCW). The Bundestag is scheduled to next convene in November following Germany’s general elections this autumn.

Support is evident

Despite the rejection, all but one of those parties, AfD, expressed support for hemp reforms such as many of those promoted in the failed motion, according to the BvCW. The association said eventual acceptance would mean “many bureaucratic restrictions and competitive disadvantages would finally be abolished, unnecessary prosecution measures would be discontinued and research on the sustainable raw material would be promoted.”

BvCW said a key proposal that would have raised the THC limit for industrial hemp from 0.2% (the current EU guideline) to 0.6% was a major reason the motion was rejected. But

the association noted that experts who have appeared before the parliamentary committee for food and agriculture denied any alleged risk of abuse from such trace amounts of THC. Even with a value of 1.0% THC, no abuse problems have been reported in Switzerland, which observes that limit for hemp, the association noted.

‘Nonsense’ on THC limit

“The disproportionately low limit represents a considerable competitive disadvantage for German farmers,” said Marijn Roersch van der Hoogte, Vice President and Departmental Coordinator for Industrial Hemp & Food at the BvCW. “As soon as it is only slightly exceeded, the entire harvest must be destroyed,” he said of the current 0.2% THC limit. “This is complete nonsense, especially since no cases of abuse are known,” Roersch van der Hoogte said.

BvCW also expressed its concern over a March 2021 judgment by Germany’s federal Court of Justice which refers to hemp as a “narcotic drug” within the meaning of the country’s Narcotics Law. That long-standing designation has caused “considerable business-damaging criminal prosecution against companies and traders in the cannabis industry, although intoxication with these products is practically impossible,” BvCW said.

“It is therefore high time that industrial hemp was completely rehabilitated and thus deleted from the Narcotics Act,” said BvCW managing director Jürgen Neumeyer.

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