August 4, 2019

Is CBD Oil Legal in Germany? 2019 Update

By Brian Cusack

The European Union has very stringent rules regarding the legalisation of cannabis and its derived products in 2019. While individual EU nations do need to meet certain EU regulations when growing, processing and selling cannabis products; respective governments can make their own decisions regarding the legal status of cannabis and CBD products in their countries.

legal status of CBD in Germany

More: Thinking of trying CBD oil make sure it is Full Spectrum

Germany has one of the most stringent drug laws in the European Union. This has made the topic of legalisation of cannabis a highly-challenging one. While CBD products are legal in Germany, there are certain restrictions on the type of products users can buy and which they can’t.

What is cannabidiol?

Cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) is one of the by-products produced when the cannabis plant is processed. The CBD compound is a non-psychoactive compound, which doesn’t generate the feelings of ‘high’ that people usually experience when consuming THC cannabis. This makes it extremely safe to ingest.

In countries like the USA, CBD oil and other CBD derivatives are used for recreation and also in cooking.

Hemp legality

The laws regarding cultivation and processing of cannabis

Germany was one of the first countries in the EU to legalise Cannabis. In March 2017, the Government gave the green signal for the legalisation of the sale and consumption of cannabis and its derivatives like CBD oil, flowers & cannabis extracts.

Cannabis under the Narcotics Drugs Act

Under the Narcotic Drugs Act, cannabis belongs to Appendix III of the Narcotic Drugs Act – drugs which are neither too safe nor too dangerous. This is why companies can grow and trade in cannabis. The Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) – a part of the Federal Ministry of Health – was set up after the legalisation of medical cannabis, to oversee the cultivation, processing and trade of medical cannabis and CBD products in Germany; both for the recreational and non-recreational use of cannabis.

Cannabis in Germany

Cannabis cultivation permits

Initially, companies were allowed to apply for a special cultivation permit from the BfArM through a tender, where they need to prove their expertise and qualification in cannabis cultivation. If they didn’t possess enough experience, they could partner with established cannabis farmers from the EU and apply for the tender.

However, this procedure became difficult to manage, and the BfArM amended application rules. Now, any German company which has experience cultivating plants that require unique care and processing methods can apply for the cannabis cultivation permit.

During processing, the cannabis plants and seeds are required to meet European Union cultivation standards.

Failing which, they will be considered as full-blown narcotics under the law, and the cultivating companies will be prosecuted under the Narcotic Drugs Act.

Read More: The legality of CBD oil in your country

However, cannabis that meets legal processing requirements can be used to produce CBD products like oil, vapes and extracts.

THC in Germany

The legalisation of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

In addition to CBD, Germany is also one of the first countries in the European Union to have also legalised medical cannabis that contains Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is the THC compound that generates psychoactive effects in the user’s mind when cannabis is consumed. Doctors can now prescribe medical cannabis which contains lesser than 0.2% of THC.

Cannabidiol from hemp

Germany’s stance on hemp

The rules under the Narcotic Drugs Act also cover the legality of another cannabis variety – hemp.

The law states that only completely processed cannabis products must be made available to the end consumer.

Other unprocessed or semi-processed cannabis plant variants like buds, dried flowers and leaves can only be used for scientific research or commercial purposes and cannot be sold to customers. This is because of the presence of higher concentrations of the psychoactive THC compound in unprocessed and semi-processed cannabis.

The only exemption to this rule is hemp-derived products.

Cannabis in Europe

What is hemp?

Hemp is a type of cannabis plant, which contains very trace amounts of THC. If processed correctly, the THC can be removed completely. Products made from hemp contain pure CBD, which makes them very safe. In fact, most of the commercially available CBD products like topical oils, e-liquids, CBD oils, edibles, wax, extracts, leaves, buds, vapes, and so on are made from hemp. These hemp-based CBD products (including CBD oil) are 100% legal and can be bought in stores and pharmacies without any prescription.

European hemp legality

Where to buy CBD oil in Germany?

Cannabidiol made from hemp and other cannabis strains are completely vegan and have been declared safe for use. These days, CBD oil is available in coffee shops, pharmacies and supermarkets across Germany. They can be used as topical agents, as cooking oil and even mixed with cosmetics.

In Germany, CBD oil comes both in the form of isolate powder and full-spectrum liquid. Cannabidiol isolates are stripped of all other compounds and extracts found in the cannabis plant, leaving behind 100% pure CBD. This powder can be mixed with a carrier oil like olive oil and then ingested.

Full-spectrum CBD oil, on the other hand, is made using the entire cannabis plant and contains trace amounts of THC.

As long as the THC content is below 0.2%, full-spectrum CBD oil can be purchased from stores and used.

Cannabidiol legal status

Travelling to Germany with Cannabidiol

The European Union has very strict rules regarding the transport of cannabis and CBD products within the region. It is recommended that travellers not fly into Germany with CBD oil.

Any CBD product found containing more than 0.3% THC is considered illegal under EU law, and German authorities may confiscate the products and punish the traveller accordingly. The same is the case when flying out of Germany with CBD oil.

European Cannabis

Will recreational cannabis ever be legal in Germany?

With the number of cannabis users steadily increasing in Germany, the neoliberal FDP have joined together with the Left Party and the Green Party in an effort to legalise all types and forms of recreational cannabis in the country.

Read More: Is CBD oil legal in the UK?

Pro-legalizers believe that legalising all forms and strains of cannabis in Germany will prevent citizens from purchasing harder drugs from the black market. However, with the Angela Merkel government (CDU) and the CSU in complete opposition to the legalisation proposal, it may still be a few years before recreational cannabis is completely legalised in Germany.

In Germany, possession of any form of cannabis (with the exception of legal specified cannabis and CBD products), is illegal and punishable by law with a fine up to €25,000 or jail time of 2 years.

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Frequently Asked Questions
Is it legal to buy cbd oil online in germany?

Purchasing and using Hemp oil / CBD in Germany is currently legal. You can get it online or in health food shops. Germany became one of the first countries in Europe to legalise the cultivation of hemp allowing the sale and consumption of hemp derivatives like CBD oil and extracts. The law states that only completely processed cannabis products must be made available to the end consumer.

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