German Retailers Risk Being Jailed for Selling Hemp Tea

Two Germans who have been running a Hemp Tea shop are being charged by prosecutors for illegally selling hemp tea. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the sale of hemp tea is considered illegal, regardless of how low the THC content is.

THC or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that’s responsible for marijuana’s infamous high. Most regulations set a limit for the amount of THC allowed in hemp and CBD. The 2018 Farm Bill, for instance, set the limit at 0.3%, and at such minuscule levels, it’s hardly intoxicating.

The two operators of the store, Marcei Kaine and Bardia Hatefi, face sentences of three and two and a half years. They have been selling hemp foods and drinks through Hanfbar retail shop for three years. They are seeking acquittal against the charges, arguing that the teas are broadly available everywhere and that the charges against them are unjust.

Their store describes itself as a vegan cafe and calls hemp the “key to a sustainable and conscious lifestyle.” The two have doubled down on hemp’s benefits, with one defendant reading several customer reviews praising the effectiveness of hemp products against sleep disorders and pain. “I still believe that what we did was right,” they said.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, say that hemp tea is banned under the German Narcotics Law, which specifies that hemp products cannot be used for intoxicating purposes. The German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) follows guidance set by Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) regarding ingestible products.

The BfR, an institute of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, provides scientific advice about food safety, and it has set the following THC values as guidance for food products: 5mg/kg for beverages, 5,000mg/kg for oils and 150mg/kg for all food products.

The prosecutor claims that the two defendants are in violation of these policies. According to recent court cases, even selling cannabidiol products with little to no THC content could see retailers slapped with charges. The companies were charged with illegally selling CBD products as food without the premarketing authorization required for “novel foods.”

In Bardia’s and Marcei’s case, prosecutors say the teas could be used for intoxicating purposes, a clear violation of the Narcotics Law. Two experts who testified at the trial said that even small amounts of THC can cause an intoxicating effect if they are smoked in large quantities or processed into edibles.

Prosecutors argue that the defendants showed a “blatant lack of understanding about the illegality of their actions” and proved to be “completely unteachable” even after several police raids.

Industry watchers believe sector players like Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) and No Borders Inc. (OTC: NBDR) could be deeply saddened that law enforcement resources as still being spent on prosecuting people selling hemp tea in some parts of the world, and Germany no less.

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