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The Legal Landscape Of CBD Hemp Flower In Europe

hemp flower europe
Written by Jack Woodhouse

CBD flowers are not only popular in the U.S., but also across the Atlantic in Europe. In fact, it was in Europe that smokable CBD-rich hemp flower first became a thing. 

It was in Switzerland, about three or four years ago, when someone realized that the country’s cannabis laws did not prohibit the sale of hemp flower – which was legally defined as cannabis with less than 1% THC.

Since then, thousands of vendors have appeared all over the continent under a patchwork of legal frameworks. However, not every country has been so welcoming to the non-psychotropic buds. 

In some places, hemp flower has been banned, shops have been raided, and people have even been arrested. With that in mind, this article will give you a complete breakdown to the European landscape when it comes to CBD flowers. 

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European CBD flower market explained

The CBD flower market in Europe is based around hemp. Under EU law, hemp is classified as cannabis with less than 0.2% THC by dried weight. For it to be lawful, it must also be from a variety of seed approved by the EU. You can see that list here.   

This approved hemp can be grown under licence in most of Europe. When tested, it must come in at uyder 0.2% THC or it will be destroyed. Some countries, however, have higher THC limits – most notable Switzerland (1%), Italy (.6%), and Austria (.3%).

In some places, in a bid to stay within the law, hemp flower is often sold as a collectible, as tea, or simply ‘not for consumption’. Obviously, it’s widely known that is disingenuous. 

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Where in Europe is hemp flower legal?

  • Switzerland

In the country where the CBD flower craze started, it’s still widely sold and countless brands have been launched. Due to their 1% THC limit, and the fact they don’t have to stick to varieties from the EU-approved list, Switzerland has the highest quality CBD buds in the world.

Intensive breeding programs has seen producers to cross popular modern THC-rich cannabis strains with low-THC varieties. This allows them to create high-grade CBD versions of well-loved strains, such as Girl Scout Cookies, Blue Dream, and Gelato. 

  • Belgium

Belgium has a flourishing hemp flower market due to the country’s decision to regulate and tax the sale of CBD flower just like tobacco. 

  • Luxembourg

Along with legalising the recreational use of THC-rich cannabis for adults, Luxembourg is also regulating and taxing the sales hemp flower in a similar style to Belgium. 

  • Austria

Hemp flowers with under 0.3% THC are sold legally in Austria, although they are sold under the guise that they are not for consumption. 

  • Spain

CBD flowers with less than 0.2% THC can be legally purchased in Spain.  

  • Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is one of the leading hemp growers in Europe and they have pretty relaxed laws when it comes to low-THC cannabis. Provided it’s below 0.3% THC, hemp flower is perfectly legal to sell and possess.  

  • Greece

Hemp flower is widely sold throughout Greece, even being sold out of vending machines in some cities.

  • Poland

Poland is another country where you can find CBD flower legally on sale. Their THC limit is 0.2%.  

Where is it illegal?

  • UK

Despite a good number of shops selling CBD flower in the UK, it is technically illegal to do so, as far as I understand. This hasn’t stopped the product from becoming very popular, however, and only sporadic police enforcement has led to many thinking the buds are legal. 

There may be reason to believe that hemp flower tea could be legal, although this is far from certain. 

  • Germany

Germany has a large medical cannabis program but unfortunately the country doesn’t allow the sale of CBD flowers. 

  • Italy

Again, while CBD flowers are widely sold throughout Italy, they are not technically legal. In fact, the country’s Supreme Court of Cassation said existing laws do not permit the sale of products ‘derived from the cultivation of cannabis’, and that products currently on sale including flowers, must be removed from shelves.

  • France

A similar is also present in France, where a number of shops selling CBD flower have been closed. I believe sales are continuing for now.  

  • Netherlands

Despite its rather relaxed attitude to cannabis, CBD flower is not legal in the Netherlands. 

  • Portugal 

Another country with relaxed cannabis laws – in fact, all drugs are decriminalised in small amounts – Portugal also has prohibited hemp flower sales. 

  • Sweden

Hemp flower is not permitted in Sweden. I believe the same is true of other Scandinavian countries, Norway, Denmark and Finland. 

Final Thoughts

We know how difficult it can be to navigate the legal landscape of hemp flowers, especially when each country within the EU can make their own laws regarding the subject. Hopefully, this quick guide can be of benefit to you.

For more stories like this one – or to source high-quality, legal hemp flowers for your shop, subscribe to the CBD Flowers Business Newsletter.

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About the author

Jack Woodhouse