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BvCW: cannabis seeds may be traded

Cannabis Act opens up new business segment for the economy

Berlin, 04/15/2024 | The Cannabis Act (CanG), which came into force on 04/01/2024, was welcomed by the cannabis industry as an important milestone. The law contains a regulation on the distribution of cannabis seeds by non-commercial cultivation associations and on sourcing from other EU countries. The extent to which the private sector in Germany will also be allowed to trade seeds for cannabis containing THC is currently being discussed with great interest in the industry. The BvCW has dealt intensively with the legal situation and has come to the conclusion that, on the basis of the legal provisions created, not only the trade in cannabis seeds by way of import is permitted, as is often reported in the media, but – at least if the law is interpreted correctly – in particular the sale in stores of the stationary retail trade is also legally possible. The BvCW has published the detailed justification in a discussion paper.

BvCW board member and lawyer Dr. Ferdinand Weis comments:

“Cannabis seeds can be traded in any case if they are imported directly from another EU country via distance selling. The question is whether they may also be sold in the stationary trade. The legislator has not clearly regulated this point, which is why legal interpretations are now required. An interpretation of the legal provisions on cannabis seeds that would only allow commercial trade if the cannabis seeds are imported from abroad, e.g. via dropshipping, would, in my opinion, lead to a disproportionate interference with the fundamental right to freedom of occupation (Art. 12 para. 1 and 2 of the German Constitution). The objectives of the law are, in particular, to improve the protection of health and minors and to combat the black market. Limiting the trade in seeds to imports from other EU countries would not achieve this goal any better than if domestic trade were permitted.”

BvCW Managing Director Jürgen Neumeyer adds:

“We see the authorization of the seed trade as a sensible, controlled economic activity that is readily perceived by the cannabis industry. Ultimately, it must be clear where legal seeds come from. Anyone who wants to push back the black market must allow the seed trade. German suppliers must not be prevented from competing with other European countries. That is why we are now presenting our initial legal assessment and hope that this will be shared by the courts in the event of a dispute.”

In the law, seeds and cuttings are sometimes listed together under the term “multiplication material”. While the BvCW has already developed a clear legal opinion on the trade in seeds, there is still a need for further clarification and regulation with regard to the trade in cuttings.

The discussion paper “Zur Zulässigkeit des kommerziellen Handels mit Cannabissamen” (On the permissibility of the commercial trade in cannabis seeds) with the legal opinion of the BvCW can be found here.