It is not difficult to think long and hard on U.S. cannabis laws and still be left shaking your head in confusion. But if you think our laws don’t make any sense, you might want to try Germany on for size. Their laws are even more convoluted. And you don’t have to look at THC and marijuana – Germany has enough trouble with hemp and CBD.
The German government has been promising cannabis reform for some time. But that seems unlikely, given that it has taken a court case to force government officials to even talk about what constitutes hemp as compared to marijuana.
Hemp and marijuana are both varieties of cannabis. In this country, we determine which is which by measuring THC content. Any cannabis plant with 0.3% THC or less is considered hemp. Anything higher than 0.3% goes under the marijuana classification. It is pretty simple to understand.
Selling Hemp and CBD in Germany
The court case that might ultimately determine the fate of hemp in Germany was filed in response to a similar case decided in France. It boils down to German retailers and their ability to sell hemp-derived products, like CBD oil. European treaties require the German government to allow retailers to import and sell hemp and CBT products from other countries. Yet they don’t.
At issue is the reality that German law does not distinguish between hemp and marijuana. It doesn’t distinguish between CBD and THC. Thus, government officials have been unwilling to allow retailers to sell CBD products. The case now headed to court should resolve the issue once and for all.
Imports But Not Domestics
It seems likely that the court will force government officials to allow importation and sale of hemp and CBD products from throughout Europe. After all, Germany is compelled to honor the treaties it has signed on to. But whether domestic producers will be allowed to do business remains unknown. They could continue to face discrimination in their own country if the court does not force a regulatory change.
In a best-case scenario, German policymakers would use the court case as motivation to legally establish the difference between hemp and marijuana. A worst-case scenario would be the court ruling on the import issue without addressing the classification issue. The court could also take it upon themselves to legally define hemp rather than leaving it to legislators.
Our System Seems to Work
It may be strange that the U.S. system draws a distinction between hemp and marijuana based solely on THC levels. Nonetheless, our system seems to work. Both hemp and CBD are fully legal across the country. Even in restrictive states like Utah, companies can sell CBD products as they see fit. That is not true of THC products.
Whether you call it cannabis or marijuana, a plant containing more than 0.3% THC can only be sold as medical cannabis in Utah. Moreover, the people behind Utahmarijuana.org explain that only licensed medical cannabis pharmacies can sell it.
You can go into any corner pharmacy, grocery store, or department store in Utah and find tons of CBD products ranging from teas to health supplements. But you can only purchase medical cannabis from a licensed pharmacy. Moreover, you have to possess a valid medical cannabis card to do so.
By making a distinction between hemp and marijuana, our system makes it easier to regulate cannabis sales while giving retailers free license to sell CBD products. Things are much more complicated in Germany. Perhaps the pending court case will change things for domestic producers and retailers.