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Moves To Repeal Germany’s Industrial Hemp Laws Receive Widespread Support In Closing Parliamentary Session

A LAST-DITCH bid by the Left Party and The Greens to liberate the German hemp industry has been rejected in one of the final sessions of the Bundestag before September’s Federal Elections.

However, hemp and cannabis campaigners have taken heart from the widespread political support for reform of the country’s restrictive laws.

The motion entitled ‘Fully exploiting the potential of commercial hemp cultivation’ aimed to take industrial hemp out of the country’s Narcotic Laws – the BtMG – and set an upper limit of 0.6% in dry matter for Delta-9-THC content; up from the current level of 0.2%

While the application was rejected the German Cannabis Industry Association (BvCW) highlighted the significant momentum for change inside the Bundestag.

Majority In Favour Of Reform

Marijn Roersch van der Hoogte, Vice President and Departmental Coordinator for Industrial Hemp & Food at the BvCW, said: “It is noticeable that all parties – with the exception of the AfD (right-wing Alternative for Germany), which did not take part in the debate – spoke out in favour of reform and are striving for improvements after the general election.

“The disproportionately low limit (for industrial hemp) represents a considerable competitive disadvantage for German farmers. As soon as it is only slightly exceeded, the entire harvest must be destroyed. This is complete nonsense, especially since no cases of abuse are known.” 

BvCW managing director Jürgen Neumeyer, added: “It is therefore high time that industrial hemp was completely rehabilitated and thus deleted from the Narcotics Act. The association is now relying on a change as soon as possible after the federal election.”

German Cannabis Industry Association (BvCW)

Leading German cannabis lawyer Kai-Friedrich Niermann also took heart from proceedings telling BusinessCann: “Surprisingly, the CDU/CSU (Chancellor Merkel’s party and its coalition partners) have conceded that the consumption of commercial hemp poses no risks. 

“In addition, the CDU/CSU also agrees that in the next legislative period, the restrictions on commercial hemp as food and as well as the cultivation controls can be liberalized. 

First Task Of New Administration

“According to the CDU/CSU, commercial hemp is an asset for domestic agriculture, and they want to promote this. However, the CDU/CSU is still guided by the assumption that there may be risks with commercial hemp, due to the extremely low THC content.”

He went on to say that legislative proposals introduced by the opposition are generally never passed, ‘so we will indeed have to wait for a new initiative from the new governing coalition in the next legislative period’.

Mr Niermann added: “I firmly believe that the issue of commercial hemp and the reform of narcotics law will be one of the first projects to be implemented by a new government. 

“Not least because of the countless criminal proceedings that are currently pending on the basis of the current legal situation, thus leading to serious infringements of fundamental rights.”

Figures from 2018 show that industrial hemp farming in Germany covered 2,148 hectares – around 4,000 football pitches.

Adult-Use? Possibly

BusinessCann reported earlier that many hemp and CBD business are still being hounded by the police and the courts despite a ruling from the Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (BGH) that its Narcotics Act ‘does not generally prohibit the sale of hemp flowers and leaves to end customers for consumption purposes’.

With the Greens riding high in the opinion polls reform of the industrial hemp laws and a move toward adult-use cannabis is gathering momentum ahead of the General Election on September 26.

The Left Party and The Greens Bundestag resolution, and the report of the Committee on Food and Agriculture, can be found here.

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