Every European who actively observed the cannabis industry over the past few years most probably stumbled across cannabis buds or flowers that were claimed to be legal in the whole European Union. Said products are often presented as CBD hemp flowers and are available in many different strains and tastes.
Simultaneously, hemp stores across Europe are being raided and occasionally even shut down by the local police for selling illegal hemp products. In Munich, Germany, the police recently raided 14 cannabidiol and hemp shops on the same day. So one might rightfully ask: are CBD hemp flowers actually legal in the EU?
Marijuana buds or hemp buds?
The cannabis flowers you can find in European online stores (as well as in physical shops) look exactly like the ones that have been around for decades. Green, dry and covered with tiny white sprinkles, also known as trichomes. Nevertheless, they are not as similar as you might think. In reality, the buds you can buy in (legal) European online stores are considered to be industrial hemp.
So-called Sativa Light cannabis strains are certified hemp variations, which have been approved by the authorities of the European Union. According to the current legislation of the EU, the cultivation and trading of hemp products are legal as long as the plants and product contain less than 0.2 percent of THC.
European online shops and hemp buds
justCBDeez, a Belgian hemp and CBD online store, offers a premium selection of hemp flowers that are officially legal in the European Union. The company specifically focuses on high-CBD cannabis flowers, as they come with the potential to treat a variety of diseases and conditions. In order to provide the best possible quality, justCBDeez is working with experienced professional cannabis growers based in Switzerland, where the laws and rules have recently been changed in favor of hemp cultivators.
‘There are clear rules for business to business trading of hemp products, which allows us to easily trade with hemp flowers in the EU. Once a strain has been certified, there are absolutely no obstacles for us to buy hemp flowers in large quantities’, said Ken Flamant, one of the founders of justCBDeez.
When being asked about the most popular products, Flamant responded that ‘the overall demand for legal hemp buds is currently rising, as people start realizing that they offer superior benefits to traditional CBD oil. Our CBD-focused hemp strains “Amnesia” and “Mango Kush” are currently in very high demand.’
Image: Amnesia Hemp Flowers by justCBDeez
Is it really that easy?
While industrial hemp flowers are technically legal in the European Union, there are still a few small stumbling blocks that sellers may encounter. First of all, it’s important that CBD-containing products may not be declared to have any medical benefits for its users. Since the EU still sees cannabidiol as a controversial substance — for example due to its recent novel food declaration — resellers of CBD-containing flowers should be careful when advertising their products.
Related: What is CBG? – Cannabinoid Science
Furthermore, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the 0.2 percent THC limit ‘may also come with conditions, such as “originating from an authorized variety of cannabis”, “if not viable for narcotic purposes”, “if not misused”’. As a consequence, European authorities appear to have issues with hemp flowers that are sold for the purpose of smoking or vaping them.
In order to stay safe from potential legal problems, many hemp vendors don’t sell their products as cannabis buds to smoke but instead declare them as tea, incense or even collectibles. Some brands also leave hints on the packing which say that the product may not be smoked or consumed in any other way, though this heavily depends on the geographic location of the store.