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Cannabinoid sales boom in Austria canceled


The state program regulates the use of only two drugs of medical cannabis (dronabinol and sativex), therefore many Austrian patients use OTC products with CBD, primarily food products prohibited by the Minister of Health and cannabinoid cosmetics.
On the pages of the specialized electronic publication of Ukrainian growers, more than once were described the mechanisms by which lobbyists of large pharmaceutical companies “drive” clients with administrative methods to buy prescription drugs from hemp produced by these firms. This material will describe a similar kind of mechanism initiated by the Minister of Health of Austria.
By its order, the Minister of Health of Austria has banned enterprises from selling food, as well as cosmetics, in which cannabidiol (CBD) is used as ingredients. The basis for the imposition of such prohibitions is the fact that products made using CBD, in his opinion, fall under the definition of the European Union “new food”.
Cannabidiol is included in the new EU food catalog in such a way that individual EU member states may restrict its sales or have the right to demand sales with a special permit. As the head of the Austrian cannabis association in Austria, Stefan Volynets, said, “the process of obtaining permission for new products from CBD can cost up to half a million euros.”
This kind of notification of the Minister of Health of Austria caught companies involved in the sale of food and cosmetics containing CBD by surprise. For example, the popular network of express bars and confectioneries Aida, whose outlets are mainly located in Vienna, announced in its social networks that it will distribute the remaining products containing cannabidiol in its stores, and not destroy them, as prescribed by the country's health minister . In order to fulfill the order of a government official, the company will have to stop not only sales of popular products, but also to break existing contracts with counterparties who made these products for Austrian buyers. In parallel with this, the company's lawyers will protest the actions of government officials, so they do not have any meaning, incur substantial losses to the company and impede Aida's legitimate business activities.
An absurd ban on sales of products containing CBD is also because cannabidiol sold as essential oils or cannabis leaves and inflorescences rich in CBD are not affected by the ban, provided that the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol in them does not exceed 0.3% after decarboxylation and compliance with certain product labeling requirements.
Representatives of the Austrian Food Safety Agency visited another company selling cannabidiol-based food products, who, referring to an order from the country's health minister, asked “to immediately stop selling any products containing CBD (confectionery, food additives, teas, etc.). .d.) In order to continue selling cannabis leaves and inflorescences rich in cannabidiol, the management of the trading company was asked to change the label on the products sold. According to the head of the company, Ms. Sophie Sagmeister, “We have packaging materials that are outdated overnight and cost my company about € 40,000. However, following the recommendations of the Agency, we must change the sales system built earlier and retrain for sales of “aromatic products”.
The political party NEOS - New Austria and the Liberal Forum, represented in the lower house of the Austrian parliament, plans to challenge the order of the Minister of Health and find out the real reasons why it was adopted. First of all, this is due to the fact that an absolutely incomprehensible regulatory document, which came out of the depths of the Ministry of Health, has a negative impact on a large number of companies operating in this sector of Austrian hemp breeding.
Commentary of the «Ukrainian Industrial Hemp Association»
According to analysts of the European hemp market, about 250 stores specializing in products containing CBD are legally operating in Austria. There are thousands of consumers of this product in the country, and the annual turnover of only this sector of Austrian hemp breeding is about € 150 million. Currently, the state program regulates the use of only two medical cannabis drugs (dronabinol and sativex), therefore many Austrian patients use non-prescription drugs with CBD primarily food and cannabinoid cosmetics prohibited by the Minister of Health. The fact that the Minister of Pharmaceuticals is lobbying interests by the Minister is quite obvious, and the order of the Minister of Health is aimed at localizing sales of products containing CBD exclusively in pharmacies, later making them exclusively prescription drugs.
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