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Is CBD-Friendly Austria Moving To Ban Cannabis Seeds, Clones?

Austria cannabis ban

The street to normalization and legalization of hashish is totally different in each European nation. In Austria, the place possession and sale of non-flowering hashish crops has been authorized for medical and scientific analysis functions for years, a brand new far-right authorities is planning to place a cease to all of this by banning clones and seeds outright. In the meantime, CBD merchandise with not more than zero.Three-percent THC are bought everywhere in the nation.

This previous October on the Cultiva hashish truthful and congress, held within the Austrian capital Vienna, the proposed ban on seeds and clones was a scorching matter amongst distributors and guests alike. In December 2017, a brand new authorities coalition comprised of two right-wing events, the Freedom Get together of Austria (FPÖ) and the Austrian Individuals’s Social gathering (ÖVP), got here to energy. The coalition is led by Austria’s youngest ever chancellor, 32-year-old Sebastian Kurz, chairman of the ÖVP, who can also be the world’s youngest at present serving head of presidency. This new coalition authorities’s program translation merely states: Prohibition of hemp seeds and hemp crops. When this ban will take impact is unclear. A spokesperson for Justice Minister Josef Moser advised newspaper Kurier it will be “within the legislature [period] in any case.”

The authorized hashish business in Austria — a rustic with a inhabitants of slightly below 9 million, situated within the coronary heart of Europe — has been flourishing over the previous decade. The native drug regulation there doesn’t, as is usually thought, distinguish between flowering and non-flowering hashish crops, however moderately, defines for which objective crops are unlawful. If the aim is to supply a psychoactive drug with THC, then the cultivation is prohibited. Because of this cultivating non-flowering crops and producing clones is authorized. Name it a loophole or name it logical and constant lawmaking, the end result has been a vibrant authorized hashish business.

Austria cannabis ban

For 11 years, Vienna’s Cultiva expo and conference has been devoted to all of the versatile makes use of of the hashish plant. (Derrick Bergman)

Greater than 70 develop outlets in Austria promote clones, seeds and develop gear, with Vienna boasting quite a lot of “superstores,” like Bushdoctor and Develop Metropolis. Specialised corporations produce business portions of clones. Up till now, all of this has been authorized. The identical goes for CBD merchandise with not more than zero.Three-percent THC. In response to native stories in Austria, some 250 outlets now promote CBD merchandise, of which 50 are situated in Vienna. Apart from hashish oil, tinctures and balms, these shops additionally promote bud and even CBD hash, all of which is regionally produced.

Harald Schubert of Bushdoctor can also be the founding father of the Cultiva hashish truthful and congress, which he launched in 2008. Because of its recognizable venue — the glass Occasion Lodge Pyramid situated south of Vienna metropolis middle — and impeccable group, Cultiva has grow to be a agency favourite on the European hashish calendar.

The large query that was being requested by attendees and exhibitors on the expo was whether or not the federal government of Sebastian Kurz intends to crush Austria’s thriving hashish business with this potential new ban.

“It was one of the first changes the new government announced in its first weeks in power,” says Erec Kozàr, a veteran hashish activist dwelling in Vienna. “They seem to be hesitant, though. The legislation for the 12-hour work day was quickly pushed through without any debate. Cannabis has become a flourishing business in Austria — there are many small shops for CBD, as well as big clone farming companies. The ÖVP and its partner FPÖ are as neoliberal as any of the European far right; they do care about prospering markets. One of the biggest cannabis companies, Flowery Field, did not wait. They already moved their business to Italy. That hurt [the economy]I hope.”

Austria cannabis ban

Veteran hashish activist Erec Kozàr at house in Vienna. (Erec Ortmann)

Particularly in Vienna, hashish has turn out to be more and more seen and normalized. You should purchase a “weed pizza,” with a number of drops of CBD oil sprinkled over it. An organization referred to as Dr. Greenthumb put in a merchandising machine within the metropolis middle that “donates” CBD hashish merchandise. Even that the majority Viennese of institutions, the konditorei, or conventional espresso and cake store, has jumped on the bandwagon. As of September, espresso and pastry chain Aida Café Konditorei began promoting CBD brownies, topped with a marzipan hashish leaf, naturally.

“The knowledge about the plant has widely spread, even to the most remote valleys of the Alps,” says Kozàr. “People know that cannabis exists and that it has medical value. But to this day, there is no legal cannabis in Austria, not even for patients. It is possible, with the right doctor, to get a prescription for expensive artificial derivatives, like Dronabinol and Sativex. But reimbursement is erratic, to put it mildly.”

Nonetheless, there are indicators that the brand new authorities in Austria might considerably loosen up the legal guidelines surrounding medical hashish.

“According to our associates of Arge Canna, the Austrian patient organization, there is an improvement,” continues Kozàr. “The socialist party of the former government was very close with Big Pharma. After all, Vienna is one of the European centers of the pharmaceutical industry. Peter Kolba of the Liste Pilz party, a [medical marijuana] patient and an activist, says he gets the feeling of being heard by the new Ministry of Health when representing the interests of patients. I think Austria will follow Germany’s lead. As soon as Big Pharma can supply the demand, medical cannabis will arrive in Austria.”

So, what does Kozàr make of the CBD hype?

“A friend of ours runs a CBD shop in Vienna. It is fantastic to enjoy group smoking [of] a joint in front of the store, even when it’s only CBD. Does it help legalization? In the long run, certainly. People smoking joints in public is nothing strange anymore, at least in the bigger cities. Medical cannabis will raise awareness and tolerance of our beloved plant. [But] I doubt that Austria will legalize in the near future — they want to protect the Big Pharma business for as long as possible. Tolerance for illegal private growers is already good in Vienna. That tolerance will grow and spread, unless the law and order faction starts running wild. We [activists] are in for the long haul.”

Austria cannabis ban

Famed Viennese pastry chain Aida Café Konditorei now sells CBD brownies. (Picture courtesy of AIDA Cafe-Konditorei)

At this yr’s Cultiva, the European Coalition for Simply and Efficient Drug Insurance policies (ENCOD) celebrated its 25th anniversary. Cultiva founder Schubert introduced over an enormous birthday cake to the ENCOD set up and thanked Kozàr and different members current for his or her work in elevating consciousness and organizing on the grassroots degree. Kozàr has been an lively member of ENCOD for years, participating in quite a few campaigns and actions on the United Nations Workplace on Medicine and Crime (UNODC), headquartered in Vienna. “ENCOD is an organization of individuals and organizations who want to end the war on drugs,” he explains. “Basic human rights are at the core of our policy proposals.”

Though ENCOD, considered one of Europe’s oldest drug reform nongovernmental organizations, opposes prohibition of all unlawful medicine, hashish has all the time been its foremost focus. “We’ve supported and promoted the cannabis social club model, ENCOD members were directly involved in the development of the whole idea,” explains Kozàr. “In 2011, we presented a European Code of Conduct for Cannabis Social Clubs, in order to offer a comprehensive framework for people who wish to follow this. Our most popular campaign at the moment is Freedom to Farm. We consider it a fundamental human right to farm and use any natural plant, be that tomatoes, cannabis, coca or poppy.”

Austria cannabis ban

Furthering ENCOD’S anti-prohibition trigger, in March 2014, Kozàr performed a central half within the group’s Kaffeeschnüffler, or “coffee sniffer” marketing campaign, held on the entrance of the United Nations buildings in Vienna. Dressed up in 18th century Royal Prussian Military uniforms, Kozàr and fellow activists handed out flyers to the worldwide delegates participating within the annual assembly of the UN Fee on Narcotic Medicine (CND).

The flyer defined how within the yr 1777, King Frederick the Nice outlawed the import of espresso to guard Prussia’s nationwide financial system from this overseas product. A battalion of conflict veterans have been deployed to seek out illegally imported and roasted espresso. They have been referred to as the espresso sniffers.

“Today people laugh about this story,” the textual content on the flyer learn. “Just as people in the near future will laugh about UN meetings aiming to maintain the prohibition of plants like cannabis. … They will consider it as a useless, counterproductive and costly experiment. Today you have the chance to end it. Please consider this when you enter the UN buildings.”

To discover out extra about ENCOD, go to its web site at www.encod.org.

Sources:
https://kurier.at/chronik/oesterreich/verkauf-von-hanf-pflanzen-soll-verboten-werden/400090847

https://www.bundeskanzleramt.gv.at/documents/131008/569203/Regierungsprogramm_2017%E2%80%932022.pdf/b2fe3f65-5a04-47b6-913d-2fe512ff4ce6

https://www.oe24.at/oesterreich/politik/Streit-eskaliert-FPOe-will-Aus-fuer-Hanf-Automat/352279500

https://derstandard.at/2000090131824/Legales-Cannabis-Das-Gras-aus-dem-Automaten

‘Cannabis-Shops in Wien boomen – rund 50 Hanf-Shops bieten ihre produkte in Wien an’, OE.24, October 15, 2018

‘The Kaffeeschnüffler – a relic of the past?’, ENCOD flyer, revealed 2014
https://www.encod.org/en/actions-events/campaigns/un-commission-on-narcotic-drugs-2/

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