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Berlin, 09/01/2022 The Thomassek farming family from Dithmarschen (Schleswig-Holstein) was surprised by a large police contingent last Tuesday. More than 25 officers from the LKA, Kripo and police searched the house and yard in search of what they have been growing for years with state approval: Industrial hemp. Although it has been proven that this contains far less than 0.2% of THC, which only has an intoxicating effect in larger quantities, the Itzehoe public prosecutor’s office carried out the seizure of all commercial hemp goods on the basis of an investigating judge’s order from the Itzehoe district court, including the hemp fields with a cultivation area of around 3.7 hectares. The reasoning: The hemp tea, which is sometimes produced after harvesting, is capable of producing an intoxicating confection, so that the sale to end consumers violates the Narcotics Act. In addition, the sale of caramelized hemp seeds as food is allegedly also punishable.

The cultivation of industrial hemp has been legal again in Germany since 1996. Since then, tea made from or with industrial hemp has also been offered, among other things. EU-certified industrial hemp was growing on the affected fields, they were properly registered with the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) and have a harvest release by the BLE. The harvest should take place in about 10 days.

“In the current case, the livelihood of a farmer’s business is endangered, whose cultivation was officially approved and the harvest was even already released. If now the public prosecutor’s office Itzehoe with your new legal interpretation should become generally accepted, a majority of the 863 agricultural enterprises in the use hemp range as well as numerous processing enterprises and thus country widely thousands jobs in their existence would be threatened”, so Dr. Stefan Meyer, president of the BvCW.

The BGH had determined in its judgement of 24.03.2021 (AZ: 6 StR 240/20) that hemp tea may be delivered to end consumers only if the abuse for intoxication purposes is excluded. The public prosecutor’s office in Itzehoe thus believes, despite the high general availability of highly potent black market cannabis, that there is a considerable risk of abuse here. The German Cannabis Business Association (BvCW) had already made it clear in the past that this can be ruled out in practice.

While in the Dithmarschen case the public prosecutor’s office (AZ: 315 Js 4462/22) and the district court (AZ: 40 Gs 1877/22) Itzehoe set a precedent that is unique in Germany by seizing officially registered utility hemp fields and adopting a maximally restrictive interpretation of the statutory provisions, the Heilbronn public prosecutor’s office in the Lidl case (AZ: 62 Js 30853/21) – which sold similar products at short notice in 2021 – decided quite differently in the same week: The proceedings were discontinued for lack of a justified criminal charge. “We very much welcome the decision in the Lidl case, but equal law must apply to all. There is a growing impression in the industry that small and medium-sized companies are being harassed by seizures and lengthy proceedings leading to insolvency, while the big ones are being let off the hook,” said Marijn Roersch van der Hoogte, vice president of the BvCW.

“It is important here that the system also remains practicable and financially viable for small and medium-sized farmers and companies. Politicians must make sure that no bureaucratic monsters are built up and that small but important niche suppliers can also participate in the controlled market. Track & Trace makes sense both in relation to tracking illegal cultivation, which is still expected, and for traceability in questions of origin and quality,” adds Jürgen Neumeyer, managing director of the BvCW. For this purpose, it would be possible to fall back on systems that have already been successfully established. An open programming interface (API) could be used to establish compatibility with different systems. State certification of different IT solutions would also be conceivable for the BvCW.

The Thomassek family is a member of the German Cannabis Business Association (BvCW e.V.) with their company “Dithmarschen Hanf”. The BvCW is campaigning for its member and will now approach the responsible ministries in Schleswig-Holstein and at the federal level in this regard. The family’s lawyer, Dr. Ferdinand Weis, has already announced that he will appeal the seizures.

“It is absolutely incomprehensible why the public prosecutor’s office and the district court of Itzehoe are now, 26 years after the re-legalization of commercial cannabis cultivation in Germany, starting with such measures, although there have been no legal changes. While we are discussing how cannabis should be cultivated as a stimulant in the future, attempts are being made elsewhere to turn back the wheel of progress. In order to quickly create legal certainty here, the BvCW calls on the federal government to implement the expert recommendation of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) of 15.03.2021 as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the legislator is called upon to address its reform ideas (cf. report of the Committee on Agriculture and Food of the German Bundestag of June 23, 2021 on the topic of “Fully exploiting the potential of industrial hemp”) as quickly as possible; almost all parliamentary groups saw a need for action in the area of industrial hemp during the last legislative period. This urgent need has not changed – as the current case also shows,” says Jürgen Neumeyer, managing director of the BvCW.


Dithmarschen: Seizure order of the Itzehoe district court:
Lidl: Discontinuation order of the public prosecutor’s office Heilbronn:
BvCW ELEMENTS Volume 21: Why it is practically impossible for industrial hemp to be misused for intoxicating purposes
BvCW press release on the BGH ruling of 24.03.2021:
BfArM recommendation of 15.03.2021
Photos of the seizure: Here, here
here and here
Bundestag Printed Paper 19/31100 “Resolution Recommendation and Report of the Committee on Food and Agriculture”:
Press release of the Itzehoe police.