HEMP flower for sale in Austria
HEMP flower for sale in Argentina
Hemp production is allowed for industrial and medical purposes. Hemp products can be
purchased legally, except for psychoactive cannabis containing THC.
Consumption of cannabis is technically non-punishable, but possession, purchases and passing
it on to others – even when only sharing a joint – are illegal. Austrian law makes a clear
distinction between consumption related offenses and criminal dealing.
Possession cases are mostly diverted. An offender can opt for a rehab program that waives any
From 24,000 recorded drug offenses in 2012 – a decline of almost 10% compared to 2011 –
19,000 involved only consumption cases of cannabis and 505 persons were indicted for
While production of Cannabis for medical uses is theoretically allowed, the sale of the natural
remedy itself is prohibited under Austrian drug laws.
Austria allows the sale of synthetical Cannabis pharmaceuticals such as Dronabinol (containing
THC) and Sativex (containing Cannabidiol CBD) with a prescription from a licensed physician.
While it illegal to grow cannabis with the intent to produce the psychoactive cannabinoid THC,
Austrians can purchase cannabis seeds and seedlings legally. According to law, only THC is
prohibited, but none of the other hundreds of Cannabinoids.
It is unclear whether this would allow cannabis patients to grow plants as long as they would
harvest them before the flowering phase. This is important as research shows that the leaves of
the immature plants contain Cannabidiol that can be extracted into cannabis juice.
Production of industrial hemp for the production of fibers, hempseed oil and all other non-
psychoactive parts of the hemp plant was allowed in 1995 after a forced hiatus since 1958.
Industrial hemp must not contain more than 0.3% THC after flowering.
One region in Northern Austria, Hanfthal (Hemp Valley) has revived an 800 years old tradition of
Domestic fiber hemp production supplies Austrian hemp building materials producers with the
commodity and hemp seed oil producing plants are grown too. Hemp food items like hemp seed
oil etc. are produced and sold in Austria.
Austria is home to 2 hemp insulation mats producers which are an environmentally friendy
alternative to conventional methods like styrofoam or mineral wool insulation products. Growing
production has resulted in dramatic cost improvements that make hemp products price
competitive while delivering significantly better thermal and acoustic proofing.
According to official government data, more than 20% or 1 million Austrians have used cannabis
in their lifetime and 12.5% are estimated to smoke it regularly/occasionally.
Of these, roughly one half consumes cannabis regularly (defined as more than 2
smokes/vapes/edibles per week) and the other half occasionally.
Cannabis smoking is especialy prevalent in young users. Government data estimate that 40% of
youth between 15 and 25 years consume cannabis. Official data says that cannabis
consumption starts among adolescents at 15 years of age on average.
Although the sale of CBD products is booming in Austria and in Europe generally, Aida had to
give away its cakes free due to a decree forbidding the sale of products containing CBD.
Handling of cannabis extracts
It was foreseeable that the Austrian government would take up the fight against CBD, as it had
already announced it would do so in its programme. Nevertheless, many companies with CBD
products in their portfolio were surprised when the Ministry issued a decree stipulating the
handling of extracts containing cannabinoids.
A decree is an internal administrative rule issued by a higher authority to lower authorities. The
subordinate authorities will be bound by the provisions of the decrees, provided they do not
conflict with the laws. According to the decree: “Extracts containing cannabinoids which are
placed on the market as such or in food should therefore generally be considered as novel
foods under Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 [“Novel Food Regulation”]. Only authorised novel foods
included in the Union list may be placed on the market as such or used in foods in accordance
with the conditions and labelling requirements laid down in the list. No such authorisation is
currently granted. Placing on the market is therefore not permitted.” The Ministry stated that
CBD should be banned from foodstuffs and cosmetics.
It can be concluded from the wording that food and cosmetics containing CBD products may no
longer be sold.
No general ban on CBD products
Unfortunately, the Ministry’s assessment is poorly expressed. The Ministry is essentially
misusing the Novel Food Regulation to achieve its announced goals. Even though it is not
entitled to interpret EU law, this is the privilege of the Court of Justice of the EU. Although the
decree refers to “clarifications at the European level” as the basis for the legal opinion, such
clarifications have actually – at least officially – not yet taken place.
Consequently, only what is expressly laid down in the Novel Food Regulation can apply: Novel
foods and food ingredients are defined in Article 1 Para 2 of the Novel Food Regulation as foods
and food ingredients which were not yet used for human consumption to any significant extent
in the EU by 15 May 1997. The use of the respective ingredient in pharmaceuticals or cosmetics
is not sufficient, which is why, especially in the case of so-called “naturopathic plants” such as
the cannabis plant, it must be precisely checked how the plant was used before 15 May 1997. In
fact, detailed research shows that cannabis was already used as a foodstuff in the territory of
the present European Union long before 1997. This ought to be largely undisputed. However,
the same cannot be proven for CBD in pure substance, which is why in this respect a clear
distinction must be made between whether a cannabis extract is used or CBD in pure
From the two entries in the (legally non-binding) Novel Food Catalogue of the European
Commission on “Cannabis sativa L” and “Cannabidiol” it follows, on the one hand, that in the
opinion of the European Commission, the cannabis plant itself is not to be classified as Novel
On the other hand, the Novel Food Catalogue explicitly states that extracts from the cannabis
plant where the CBD content is higher than the CBD content in the source, namely the
Cannabis sativa L plant, are novel foods. However, neither the Novel Food catalogue nor any
legislative act of the European Union defines how high the “normal” CBD content is in a
cannabis plant. According to our research it lies between 2 % and 4 %. As a result, it is also
clear that foods containing hemp, in which CBD is naturally contained (e.g. hemp teas, hemp
seeds, hemp (seed) oil, hemp (seed) flour, drinks such as hemp beer or hemp lemonades), are
not subject to the Novel Food Regulation.
CBD in its pure form should probably be considered a novel food unless the food business
operator can demonstrate that the CBD extract was used as food before 15 May 1997. Then
again, not all ingredients containing CDB are novel. The decree conceals this crucial
differentiation and mentions a general prohibition, which cannot even be given due to the legal
It would have been desirable to clarify the legal situation and provide guidance to all parties
involved in the CBD business, but the decree has not achieved this objective. On the contrary,
confusion prevails. We will keep you posted about further developments.