Leading Ukrainian hemp company Canapteka said law enforcement authorities overstepped their bounds in carrying out a recent raid on its Kiev-based operations in which a wide range of hemp food and CBD products, and computers and other electronic equipment were seized.
“They didn’t find mountains of drugs, money bags, guns or anything else forbidden, so they took everything they saw,” said Illarion Yaroshenko, owner of Canapteka. “Instead of a drug gang, they saw two modest scientists in a 10-meter office, and dozens of volumes of documentation we work with.”
Canapteka said a National Police investigative team found the company’s website six months ago, and made a trial purchase of its CBD oil 1500 mg, which is made from hemp seed oil and isolate. Tests detected THC in the amount 0.008 grams per 30 ml bottle, a legal amount under Ukrainian rules. Yaroshenko said police indicated their suspicions the company had added THC to the products while not informing customers.
Yaroshenko said police “brutally came into our office, our apartments, our parents’ homes” based on orders to search private persons Yaroshenko and one Canapteka colleague. Assets seized during the raid, which took place on March 11, are technically owned by parent company Pharm-Register LTD.
The raid has left Canapteka’s customers waiting for paid orders, caused the company to stop scientific developments, rattled its international partners and taken a personal toll, according to Yaroshenko.
“The result is we are home, our elderly parents, loved ones and children were frightened,” Yaroshenko said. “We have been deprived of all means of labor and provision for our families. The company cannot continue to do business. Our families are scared.”
Canapteka has been a leader in educating Ukrainian officials on cannabis issues, having cooperated with parliamentary deputies, the Ministries of Health and Defense, experts in intelligence agencies, the National Security & Defense Council, the Cabinet of Ministers, doctors and leading specialists at Ukrainian medical institutions, according to Yaroshenko.
The company is engaged in registration of medicines, develops software, and is an importer and distributor of hemp products.
“We are actively involved in the development, discussion and implementation of legislative initiatives on the liberalization of Ukrainian anti-drug legislation,” Yaroshenko said. “We consistently advocate for the controlled use of cannabinoids in medical practice and scientific research.”
The company organizes, funds and actively supports research into remedies for childhood epilepsy syndromes Lennox Gastaut and Dravet, and said it is working to make those drugs affordable on the Ukrainian market. Canapteka also cooperates with veterans unions in developing a drug to address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and is studying the possibility of using CBD to treat pet diseases.
Yaroshenko said the company showed law officers its agreements with leading European suppliers and scientific organizations, customs declarations for the products it imports, and proof of taxes paid to the state. All of that was to no avail. “Having a complete package of accompanying documents approved by the state over the years of our work made them smile and comment that everything can be ‘done on a printer’,” Yaroshenko said.
Goods seized included hemp flour, hemp oil for salads, hemp salt, hemp coffee, hemp seed kernels, hemp cosmetics, hemp protein for athletes, hemp fiber, seed extract, and a CBD product that is legally registered as dietary supplement, Yaroshenko said.
Law officials returned one personal computer, but none of the other company property.
Canapteka lawyers have filed required documents in the matter but have not received a response nor been notified of any pending charges.
“It may be a good sign,” Yaroshenko said. “Maybe the police have understood that we are not criminals and their ‘performance’ has gone too far.”