Slovakia removes CBD from list of narcotic substances

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The Slovakian parliament on Thursday passed an amendment removing CBD from the country’s Schedule II of psychotropic substances, effective May 1.

The change comes as EU member states are in the process of adjusting national laws and regulations to align themselves with the European Commission’s clearance of CBD from drug status, its designation as a food, and EU free-trade guarantees. The European Court of Justice ruled late last year that CBD should not be considered a narcotic under the meaning of the 1961 UN Single Convention on narcotics, and that it may be freely traded across the European Union provided it is manufactured legally in the country of origin.

In a practical sense, the only change the new law brings is allowance for the sale of cosmetics using pure CBD outside Slovakia’s pharmacy chains, said Boris Baňas, Chief Sales Officer at Czech-based CBDepot, who has advanced hemp interests before the Slovak government.

Following WHO

In proposing the amendment late last year, the Slovak Ministry of Health said it was following guidance from the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, which has determined CBD is not listed under UN drug conventions.

Before this week’s passage of the amendment, the Slovak Republic was the only member state of the European Union that still listed CBD as a narcotic and psychotropic substance.

CBD became a Schedule II substance in 2011 when Slovakian officials overreacted to market authorization in Europe for Sativex, a cannabis drug that mentions CBD as an active substance, Baňas said.

Roots of listing

“The scheduling of CBD was wrongfully smuggled into the Slovakia legal system not via amendment of the ‘narcotic’ act, but via amendment of the ‘human medicines’ act, thus, below the radar,” Baňas said. “Whether this was a willful act to do so, we can now only speculate upon.”

An earlier similar amendment that would have removed CBD from Schedule II in Slovakia reached a second reading two years ago before being voted down in the parliament’s health committee.

CBD-based products such as ointments, dietary supplements and cosmetics have been readily available in Slovakia and other EU countries for years, but unclear rules have caused law enforcement problems for some online sellers, shop owners and producers.

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