Scroll Top

Industrial hemp: Özdemir announces change to the law

Cannabis industry celebrates announcement to abolish the controversial “intoxication clause” and further reforms for industrial hemp

Berlin, 05/15/2024,  Cem Özdemir, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, has announced the deletion of the so-called “intoxication clause” at the Parliamentary Evening of the Cannabis Economy. This special German rule means that even very low levels of THC in industrial hemp can lead to criminal liability, raids and business closures. In conjunction with other bureaucratic hurdles, this has hindered the use and further processing of industrial hemp in Germany. This unnecessary competitive disadvantage will now finally be abolished. The German Cannabis Business Association has been campaigning intensively for this in recent years. 

In his speech, Özdemir made it clear that hemp ropes were indispensable in the days of Christopher Columbus and that Henry Ford introduced a car made of hemp more than 80 years ago. Today, he said, hemp could be a climate-friendly alternative to plastic and steel as a durable and renewable raw material, for example in the construction and automotive industries. In addition to the “long overdue” abolition of the intoxication clause, the way is to be cleared for indoor cultivation. According to Özdemir, the current reluctance to tackle the issue is “almost like giving bakeries or even the entire bakery trade a wide berth just because they sell poppy seed cake.”

Initial measures to reduce bureaucracy have already been taken with regard to the regulations on flowering reports and seed labels. In the future, an increase in the THC limit for the cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp and the regulation of CBD will also be discussed, taking into account the implications of European law. The changes are to be made “step by step” in order to include those who still “flinch in horror” at the word cannabis.

Marijn Roersch van der Hoogte, BvCW Vice President and Head of the Industrial Hemp Division, comments: “Whether as a fiber composite in the automotive industry, insulating material and hempcrete in construction or biodegradable plastic – the sustainable potentials are manifold and could make an important contribution to CO₂ reduction in Germany. The current reforms are major steps towards making better use of this in the future.”

BvCW Managing Director Jürgen Neumeyer adds: “Imagine if traders and producers of non-alcoholic beer were subject to raids and punished because you could distil a schnapps from the residual alcohol. In practice, no such elaborate extraction takes place, not even with industrial hemp. This pointless intoxication clause has increasingly led to economic damage and bankruptcies in recent years. Its abolition is urgently needed and we are therefore very pleased!
This is an important step towards re-establishing the German industrial hemp sector. We look forward to a draft from the BMEL and will continue to accompany the parliamentary process constructively.”