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US – German Cannabis Producers Can’t Do Business Together, Here’s Why – by Michael Knodt @ marijuana.com

US, German Cannabis Producers Can’t Do Business Together, Here’s Why


BY MICHAEL KNODT ON

Bureaucratic hurdles and an unexpectedly high demand for medical cannabis in Germany have created a bottleneck that’s plagued cannabis patients and producers alike. It would seem as though working with the United States could alleviate some of the pressure, but the federal government in Germany has avoided working with the country’s producers for fear of violating the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Until Germany can develop a robust cannabis cultivation industry, its patients will continue to receive their medicine sporadically from Canada or the Netherlands. While 18 varieties of cannabis are supposed to be available, patients are lucky to find four strains at their local pharmacy — a significant issue when German doctors are required to prescribe a specific strain for patients. If that strain’s not available, the prescription is worthless.

Once the Israeli government has defined their guidelines for cannabis export, their medical cannabis will find its way into German pharmacies to help alleviate the recent bottlenecks. Israel is expected to develop a cannabis export system in the next couple of years.

Cannabis farmers in the U.S. West Coast, Nevada, Colorado, and Alaska might welcome the opportunity to expand into international markets, and patients in Germany could benefit from the new, highly effective selection of U.S. cannabis strains. But the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs labels cannabis on par with cocaine and opium — therein lies the problem for Germany doing business with U.S. cannabis producers.

The Single Convention on Narcotics and Drugs of 1961 is still the foundation of worldwide drug legislation. It includes the coca, opium poppy, cannabis, the opium plant’s raw materials, opiates, heroin, and some synthetic opioids such as methadone. The Convention on Psychotropic Substances of Feb. 21, 1971 extended the list of controlled substances to include psychotropic substances such as amphetamines, barbiturates, and LSD and came into force on Aug. 16, 1976.

Only the medical use of narcotics for pain relief is excluded from the Convention but has to be enacted in compliance with the measures deemed necessary by the United Nations (UN). Member nations must report their produced, exported, stored, and used narcotics to the Narcotic Control Council.

A State Must Purchase All Medical Cannabis Crops

Article 23 of the Single Convention states:

A Party that permits the cultivation of the opium poppy for the production of opium shall establish, if it has not already done so, and maintain, one or more government agencies (hereafter in this article referred to as the Agency) to carry out the functions required under this article.

Article 23 (2) (d) says: “All cultivators of the opium poppy shall be required to deliver their total crops of opium to the Agency. As soon as possible, but not later than four months after the end of the harvest.”

According to Articles 26 and 28 of the Single Convention, the same control system applies to coca and cannabis. Health Canada is in violation of Article 23, paragraph 2d for allowing producers to sell directly to patients. Unlike the Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) in the Netherlands, the Canadian agency does not purchase and sell the licensed producers’ crops.

The establishment of such an agency is independent of whether government institutions or licensed private providers take over the cultivation. Such agencies only exist in the few states where opium, coca, and cannabis are grown legally: The Turkish Grain Board (for Opium in Turkey), Health Canada’s Office of Controlled Substances, the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the U.S., the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) in Germany, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, the Office of Medicinal Cannabis in the Netherlands, the Czech State Agency for Medical Cannabis, and the Medical Cannabis Unit in Israel.

The U.S. government would have to recognize the medical benefits of cannabis and remove the drug from Schedule 1 of the narcotics act before the NIDA could offer medical cannabis for export to the German BfArM.

Ways Around the Single Convention

It is almost impossible for a member of the United Nations to legalize cannabis without coming into conflict with the international community. Uruguay, Bolivia, and Canada have already had to deal with the issue and have each taken different approaches to reconciling new national policy with existing international agreements.

Out and Back In

In 2009, the Bolivian government proposed deleting some provisions regarding the coca leaf, but the proposal was rejected by the other member nations. On June 29, 2011, Bolivia withdrew from the Single Convention through Jan. 1, 2012 and rejoined with an objection to Article 50 on Jan. 10, 2012.

Bolivia stated that it would allow the cultivation, trade, and consumption of coca leaves in its country. Within one year, 15 contracting nations filed an objection, well short of the one-third quorum required to reject Bolivia’s objection. Bolivia was reclassified as a contracting party on Jan. 11, 2013.

Ignore the Issue

Uruguay was reprimanded shortly before the legalization of cannabis by the UN Drug Administration’s International Narcotic Control Board (INCB). The former INCB-president Raymond Yans accused Uruguay’s then-president Jose Mujica of having an “attitude of a pirate” because his government legalized cannabis. Mujica fiercely resisted the allegations repeatedly made against his country and publicly responded to the criticism of the former INCB chairman:

“Tell the old man to stop lying. We can meet whenever he wants in Uruguay. […]. He sits in a comfortable position on the International stage and believes he can tell nonsense.”

Despite the dramatic exchanges, the international community has not sanctioned Uruguay for being the first country in the world to legalize cannabis. Incidentally, a similar complaint was addressed to the United States after the legalization ballots in Colorado and Washington State. In November 2012, Yans stated the legalization of the cultivation and possession of cannabis in Colorado and Washington violated the treaty and asked the U.S. government to restore conformity with the single convention.

Recreational cannabis is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia, and the international community is far from sanctioning the U.S. However, ignoring the treaty also means missing out on access to the international market and the opportunity to take part in international research efforts.

Don’t Comply, Justify

At the 59th meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2016, Undersecretary for Health of Canada Hilary Geller expressed Canada’s interest in international cooperation and made it clear, “the Government remains committed to strong international cooperation to combat the world drug problem and wherever possible, will seek to align its objectives for a new marijuana regime with the objectives of the international drug control framework and the spirit of the Conventions.”

Canada is the first to take the position of “non-compliance.” With Geller’s announcement, Canada has laid the foundation for an ongoing debate on how to regulate cannabis at the national level without violating international legal obligations.

Change

Even if the 1961 Single Convention could be amended, that would involve a complex, years-long process.

Canada could set a precedent in July 2018, by forcing the U.N. to rethink the position of cannabis for the first time since 1961. The aim of the process would be to give all member nations the opportunity to regulate recreational and medical cannabis in the future. Legislation in international agreements is never set in stone, it can be changed any time the democratic will of the member nations demands it.
ABOUT AUTHOR
Michael Knodt is an expert on cannabis politics and cannabis culture across Europe. Born in North Germany, Michael has been living in Berlin since 1990. He initially studied history and journalism before receiving his certification as a carpenter. Since then, Michael has made regular visits to countries where cannabis is cultivated, such as Jamaica and Morocco. He has worked as a freelancer for Weedmaps, Vice Magazine Germany, Sensi Seeds and numerous German-language cannabis magazines since 2004. From 2005 to 2013, Michael was the Editor-in-Chief of Germanys biggest cannabis periodical. He also is the face and presenter of the most popular program on cannabis prohibition and just launched a new channel called “DerMicha.” Aside from his journalistic work, Michael is a cannabis patient, activist, sought-after speaker on conferences and congresses, and a father of two.

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Regulation in Germany….and we aren’t talking about soccer :)

The current regulation in Germany made it difficult for German companies to apply to get a license for Cannabis cultivation.

** And that is why the process is now held up in litigation in the German court system. One of the unsuccessful bidders has sued over the requirements and the entire application process is on hold, with any potential awards being made in Q1 or Q2 2018 at the earliest.

What is the most popular model for cannabis cultivation in Germany, so far?
The cultivation in Germany is currently not legal, done outdoors and indoors and hidden from sight and smell as best as possible.

There is no legal German cultivation currently allowed, even for patients with valid medical approvals.

There is small cultivation being done as part of R+D projects in Universities and Scientific companies.

Regarding joint ventures: How do foreign cannabis companies usually work together with German companies?

In various ways, based on their business objectives and strategy. Three examples are:

Canopy Growth Corporation purchased a German firm Medcann, which became Spektrum Germany. They are considered by many to be the premier cannabis firm in Germany today.

Maricann of Canada purchased a former cargo facility in Dresden for 3€ million and is ramping up their European operations, adding staff, and building out their new European headquarters.

An international firm is currently in discussions with a German startup, to establish a joint venture partnership which will make news around the world. This partnership should be made public in early 2018 and will be ground-breaking.

To cover the demand of medical cannabis Germany is importing from other countries. Supply is coming especially from Canada. Which other countries might be relevant cannabis suppliers in the future?

Canada and The Netherlands are currently the only authorized countries to import into Germany. Supplies are seriously constrained and with Canada becoming a legal recreational country in July 2018, the supply bottlenecks are expected to be exacerbated well into 2019.

Tilray has announced plans to establish a cultivation facility in Portugal to supply the German, and European market in the future.

The governments of Greece, Israel, South Africa, Australia, Chile, Uruguay, and others are currently working with private sector companies to establish their own cultivation and export capabilities.

Germany, with twice the population of California, is a key market for any serious player in the global cannabis industry.

What is your personal opinion about the current German regulation. What will be the next major steps?

Regulation and taxation is always better than the illegality and violence of the black market. Always.

Thank God for the German court system which has brought legalized medical marijuana to the people, if it were up to the politicians, we would still be waiting.

Now the intelligent implementation of recreational laws need to be established to legalize the plant which has been used for thousands of years.

Reducing opioid deaths, helping certain people with their medical conditions, and enabling super-straight people to enjoy jazz music are just some of the benefits of a world where ganja is regulated, safe, and profitable.

The flower of cannabis will always have a place in the market, but in the next years we will see an increase in other forms of cannabis that are more easily consumed….edibles, oils, salves and the like. As a result, GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) certification is going to become very important for those wanting to establish a quality product in the German and European markets.

And if we look at the European Cannabis market. Which major market trends do you identify?

1- Everyone seems to be focusing on cultivation, but this segment is expected to become a commodity item in the near term. Companies may want to look at establishing a product line including “finished products with GMP certification” to become a leading force in this market.

2- At some point the insurance companies are going to become true partners in providing cannabis therapies to the German pharmacies. This will happen as a result of cost-savings and health-benefits realized vs. the current pharmaceuticals offered to patients.

3- In the words of Peter Tosh:
“Legalize it.”

The Berlin Peace Accords (attached) calls for an end to the 80 year World War On Cannabis, and we agree. Legal, regulated, safe and non-violent recreational marijuana markets have already been established in the US and Uruguay, with Canada and others joining the party in 2018.

Pharmaceutical companies don’t like it, Beer companies don’t like it (although the owners of Corona beer just invested $250 million in Canopy Growth’s cannabis business last month) and some short-sighted politicians don’t like it. But “We the People…” have made our opinions known and the calls for a rational, legal, safe and non-violent cannabis market is just a few moments away here in the center of Europe.

These are historic times, Germany is leading the world in many ways, 2018 will be an interesting year.

peace,
Phil


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Kai-Friedrich Niermann has a really good update on the potential for legal cannabis here in Germany…….news on the “Jamaica Coalition” is expected within hours,……..more later. – Phil

https://www.kfnplus.de/jamaica-current-german-coalition-and-cannabis-control-act/#comment-2

Jamaica [Current German Coalition) and Cannabis Control Act

Annotation on practical implementation by Kai-Friedrich Niermann, Attorney, Paderborn [Germany]

Let‘s say the coalition partners part this evening and determine the uptake of coalition negotiations. And let us furthermore assume The Green Party with tie-in of FDP achieve Cannabis liberalisation in full as well as pushing through their Cannabis Control Act in the negotiations going on from mid December until shortly before Christmas. And also let’s assume the Cannabis Incorporate Act is then voted in by Bundestag in May or June [2018]; then Germany will be faced with even more massive changes and the latter in various sectors.

The Cannabis Law includes the option of applications for cultivation licences (farming), wholesale trade licences as well as retail licences such as specialist shops. In addition to this import and export licences can be applied for. Expert prior knowledge is not required and simply personal trustworthiness as demanded within public-houses law is stipulated. Business owners must not have previous convictions.

Assuming a conservative estimate of 10 t of Cannabis per week being consumed in Germany this results in an annual demand of 520 t. The production of Cannabis is deemed to result in a harvest of 440 g per m² within a harvest cycle of 52 days which allows for 7 harvests per year. To cover 107% consumption of Germany an acreage of 180.000 m² would be prerequisite.

Breaking down and allocating these figures to an average municipality such as Paderborn with a population of 140.000 this would result in a required cultivation acreage of 307 m².

With the scheduled Cannabis Control Act tax of 4€/g provided by statute, 1€/g for production costs, 2€/g for wholesale trade and also 3 €/g for specialist shops this results in a price of 10€ in total per gram which is equivalent to the current black market price. It will be a balancing act not to drive the price to high to enable draining the black market effectively as intended.

For Paderborn alone and at this retail price it would amount to a turnover for cultivation/farming of approx. 890.000 €, 1,8 million € for the wholesale trade and 2,6 million € for specialist shops.

However the Cannabis Control Act provides for numerous regulations as to Quality Assurance, protection of production lines, safeguarding of youth protection and prevention. Consequently production facilities must be secured with fences and alarm systems. Transport of Cannabis is governed by specified security restrictions, the specialist shops must train their personnel and deliver proof for consistent follow-up trainings as well as a substantial social concept. Also packaging has to be secured to a high extent and must feature comprehensive warning and reconnaissance information.

It remains doubtful that the current illegal Cannabis producers will meet these requirements in full and step out from illegality. For this reason it is to be expected that capital investors who with their capacity are able to administer the task more economically will edge into the market.

Then within the 2nd half of 2018 the race for the desired licences for farming, wholesale trade, import, export and specialist retailers would begin.

Restrictions as to numbers of licence permits are not scheduled within Cannabis Control Act so any desired number of farming facilities or specialist retailers could operate. Indeed we may assume that the Authorities will initially be totally snowed under and will authorise thoroughly drawn up applications at first which are based on convincing technical programmes and a business plans.

Any potentially interested party striving to be a player in this new and strictly regulated market is to focus on the new situation just in time and develop technical and operational concepts, investment concepts as well as calculations of overall return on investment as well as liquidity calculations. And just in time could „slip into gear“ as from tomorrow morning!

RA Kai-Friedrich Niermann

http://www.kfnplus.de

k@kfnplus.de

+491773108923

Jamaika und das Cannabiskontrollgesetz

English Version

Einige Anmerkungen zur praktischen Umsetzung, von Rechtsanwalt Kai-Friedrich Niermann (Paderborn)

Nehmen wir einmal an, die Jamaika-Koalitionäre gehen heute Abend auseinander und beschließen die Aufnahme von Koalitionsverhandlungen. Nehmen wir weiter an, dass die Grünen im Verbund mit der FDP es schaffen, die vollständige Freigabe von Cannabis zu erreichen und ihr Cannabiskontrollgesetz in den Verhandlungen von Mitte Dezember bis kurz vor Weihnachten durchbringen. Nehmen wir weiter an, dass das Cannabiskontrollgesetz dann vom Bundestag im Mai oder Juni beschlossen wird, dann stehen Deutschland große Änderungen und in vielen Bereichen noch größere Herausforderungen bevor.

Das Cannabisgesetz sieht die Möglichkeit der Beantragung von Anbaulizenzen, Großhandelslizenzen sowie Einzelhandelslizenzen, sogenannte Fachgeschäfte, vor. Ferner können Einfuhr und Ausfuhrlizenzen beantragt werden. Besondere Vorkenntnisse sind nicht erforderlich, es muss lediglich die üblicherweise zu verlangende Zuverlässigkeit, wie im Gaststättenrecht zum Beispiel, vorliegen und beim Geschäftsinhaber dürfen keine einschlägigen Vorstrafen bestehen.

Geht man nach konservativen Schätzungen davon aus, dass pro Woche 10 t Cannabis in Deutschland konsumiert werden, ergibt dies einen Jahresbedarf von 520 t. In der Produktion von Cannabis geht man davon aus, dass ein m² einen Ertrag von 440 g erbringen kann, was bei einem Erntezyklus von 52 Tagen ca. 7 Ernten pro Jahr ermöglicht. Man benötigt also allein 180.000 m² reine Anbaufläche, um dem Bedarf von Deutschland zu 107% zu decken.

Bricht man diese Zahlen auf eine durchschnittliche Kommune wie Paderborn mit einer Einwohnerzahl von 140.000 herunter, ergäbe dies eine benötigte Anbaufläche von 307 m². Bei einer im Cannabiskontrollgesetz vorgesehenen Steuer von 4 €, bei Produktionskosten von 1 €, bei Kosten für den Großhandel von 2 € sowie bei Kosten für die Fachgeschäfte von 3 € pro Gramm ergebe sich ein Grammpreis von insgesamt 10 €, der dem Preis auf dem derzeitigen Schwarzmarkt entspricht. Der Spagat wird sein, den Preis nicht zu hoch zu treiben, um auch tatsächlich, wie beabsichtigt den Schwarzmarkt austrocknen zu können.

Allein für Paderborn ergebe sich bei diesem Verkaufspreis ein Umsatz beim Anbau in Höhe von ca. 890.000 €, beim Großhandel von 1,8 Millionen €, und bei den Fachgeschäften von 2,6 Millionen €.

Das Cannabiskontrollgesetz sieht allerdings zahlreiche Vorschriften bezüglich der Qualitätssicherung, der Sicherung der Produktionsanlagen, der Sicherung des Jugendschutzes und der Prävention vor. So müssen die Produktionsanlagen mit Zäunen und Alarmanlagen gesichert werden, der Transport von Cannabis unterliegt bestimmten Sicherheitsauflagen, die Fachgeschäfte müssen ihr Personal am Beginn schulen und regelmäßige Nachfolgeschulungen nachweisen sowie ein umfangreiches Sozialkonzept erstellen. Ferner müssen die Verpackungen umfangreich gesichert und mit zahlreichen Warn- und Aufklärungshinweisen gestaltet werden.

Ob es für die zahlreichen, bisher illegalen Cannabisproduzenten möglich sein wird, diese Anforderungen in Gänze zu erfüllen und aus der Illegalität herauszutreten, bleibt zu bezweifeln. Es ist daher zu erwarten, dass große Investoren mit größeren Anlagen auf den Markt drängen werden, die allein aufgrund ihrer Kapazität in der Lage sind, kostengünstiger zu wirtschaften.

Sodann würde im 2. Halbjahr 2018 ein Wettlauf um die begehrten Lizenzen für Anbau, Großhandel, Import, Export und Fachhandel beginnen. Eine zahlenmäßige Beschränkung der Erlaubnisse ist vom Cannabiskontrollgesetz nicht vorgesehen, es können also beliebig viele Anbauflächen oder Fachgeschäfte betrieben werden. Allerdings ist davon auszugehen, dass die Behörden zunächst völlig überlastet sind und die Anträge zuerst genehmigen, die vollständig ausgearbeitet sind und denen ein in technischer und betriebswirtschaftlicher Hinsicht überzeugendes Konzept zu Grunde liegt.

Es ist somit allen Interessenten, die in diesem neuen, strikt regulierten Markt agieren wollen, sich rechtzeitig auf die neue Situation einzustellen und bereits jetzt technische Betriebskonzepte, Investitionskonzepte und Rendite- und Liquiditätsberechnungen zu entwickeln. Die Zeit könnte ab morgen früh zu laufen beginnen.

RA Kai-Friedrich Niermann
http://www.kfnplus.de
k@kfnplus.de
+491773108923


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MERKEL GETS RELIGION on the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation project. Legalized marijuana in Germany now on the horizon.

Cannabis Consultant in Germany

Cenedella.DE

October 31, 2017

As many Americans start the day making plans for Halloween 2017, the folks here in Germany have the day off of work to celebrate the 500-year Anniversary of Martin Luther’s project to reform German society. Surprisingly, the newspapers today also announced Chancellor Angela Merkel’s intentions, along with her new coalition partners called the “Jamaican coalition” to consider legalizing marijuana.

Seems an unintended benefit of the AFD’s victories in the last elections, is the CDU ruling party is now more receptive to working with those with divergent views in order to maintain their leadership position.

Could this really be the start of the Reformation of the 20th century drug laws in Germany and beyond?

Has the work of the DHV in Berlin and their partners finally started to pay dividends?

Was the signing of the BERLIN PEACE ACCORDS http://www.berlinpeaceaccords.de , which begins with “We the people of the Year 2017 do…
Hereby declare that it is our inalienable basic human right to have the freedom to grow, medicate and enjoy the plant we call Cannabis, without any governmental limitations.
We demand our plant has no more regulations or limitations than a tomato plant…..” really have been the precursor to this historic moment?

Good questions, time will tell, but for sure our collective efforts as cannabis business executives are starting to pay dividends.

The month of October had started off with over 350 doctors, scientists, investors and industry professionals waking up in view of the massive Cologne Cathedral, which is truly an amazing sight to see in person! The International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines’ (IACM) CANNABINOID CONFERENCE was held in downtown Cologne bringing together experts from Canada, Australia, Germany, and from throughout the world. Their website is http://www.cannabis-med.org and three take-aways were:

The idea that “Marijuana has no medicinal value” was pretty much, fully debunked 😊

The breath and quantity of existing “clinical trials” on our plant is amazing.

Meeting Josh Stanley, whose company has arguably helped more medical marijuana patients than anyone, was a privilege. CW Hemp’s team continues to lead the industry in many ways,…and additionally they are simply very cool people.

Later in the month, the folks from the regulatory and compliance organization ASTM came to Berlin for a 2-day intensive session for their new “Technical Committee D37 on Cannabis” section. You know we are becoming a real industry when 2 days is spent talking only about compliance related issues. Half the group was from Germany, including executives from the first licensed marijuana testing facility located within Germany, scientists from the University of Berlin currently working on marijuana clinical trials, and a few of the leading homegrown companies on the front lines including ABCann Germany, MH Hemp, Pedanois, and two guys who reminded me of what a young Ed Rosenthal would be like. 😊

So as November 2017 begins, many of us will meet in Berlin this weekend for the first annual DHV Convention. Their website is https://hanfverband.de and they are unequivocally the leading organization for marijuana reform in Germany today. This convention will probably confirm these four truths of the marijuana landscape in Germany today:

Canadian firms are kicking butt!
They understand the requirement of GMP certification, their government is supportive of providing qualified companies an export license for their THC-based products, and their executives are damn smart.

German firms are coming of age, are intelligent and committed.
The first DHV convention will be highlighting the work of patient advocates, industry professionals, knowledgeable physicians and forward-looking politicians involved in building this new industry within the German borders.

The European, South American, African, Israeli and Australian firms are all actively making plans to succeed.
Governments, investors, and executives from throughout the world are looking at Germany and making their plans to enter the European market with its 750+ million potential customers. They are forming strategic partnerships, investing in commercial facilities, and making Europe a priority for 2018.

The USA is an abysmal no-show in the game.
America started the war on Marihuana last century, and somehow tries to keep the war alive today. Scientist, Stoners and Society have evolved quite a bit since the 1930s. The Germans have taken note, changed course in their direction, and their people will be better off as a result.

Maybe now it’s time for President Trump get religion and start his own Marijuana Reformation project?

– Philip J. Cenedella


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What Is Going On With Germany’s Cannabis Bid? By Marguerite Arnold

A number of setbacks, controversies and lawsuits keep the German cannabis market in limbo.

Germany is proceeding down the path to officially grow its own medical cannabis crops. Medical use became legal this year, along with a federal mandate for cheap access. That means that public health insurance companies, which cover 90% of Germans, are now firmly on the hook if not front line of the cannabis efficacy issue. As such, Germany’s medical market is potentially one of the most lucrative cannabis markets in the world, with a total dollar amount to at least challenge, if not rival, even California’s recreational market. Some say Canada’s too.

However, before “home grow” enthusiasts get too excited, this legislative move was an attempt to stymie everything but commercial, albeit medical production. Not to mention shut off the recreational discussion for at least another four years.

How successful that foray into legalization will be – especially given the chronic shortages now facing patients – are an open question. Not to mention other infrastructural issues – like doctor unfamiliarity with or resistance to prescribing cannabinoids. Or the public insurers’ so-far reluctance to cover it even though now federally mandated to do so.

Regardless, Germany decided to legalize medical use in 2017 and further to begin a sanctioned domestic cultivation for this market. The decision in the Bundestag to legalize the drug was unanimous. And the idea to follow UN regulations to establish this vertical is cautiously conservative but defendable. Very predictably German in other words.

Since then, however, the path has been far from smooth. Much less efficient.

Trouble in Germany’s Medical Cannabis Paradise
In April the government released its tender bid. And no matter how exciting it was to be in the middle of an industry who finally saw a crack of light, there were also clouds to this silver lining that promised early and frequent thunderstorms on the horizon.

By the time the tender bid application was due in June, it was already clear who the top firms were likely to be In fact, by the end of the ICBC conference, which held its first annual gathering in Berlin at the same time the bid tender was announced, the controversy was already bubbling. The requirements of the bid, for a laughably small amount of cannabis (2,000 kg), mandated experience producing high qualities of medical marijuana in a federally legitimate market. By definition that excluded all German hopefuls, and set up Canada and Holland as the only countries who could provide such experience, capital and backlog of crop as the growing gets started.

The grumbling from Germans started then.

However, so did an amazingly public race to gain access to the German market directly – by acquisition or capital expenditures that are not refundable easily (like real estate or even buyouts). The common theme? They were large amounts of money being spent, and made by major Canadian Licensed Producers who had the right qualifications to meet the standards of the bid. In fact, by the time the tender bid application was due in June, it was already clear who the top firms were likely to be. They were the only ones who qualified under the judging qualifications.

And while nobody would commit publicly, news of the final decision was expected by August. Several Canadian LPs even issued press releases stating that they were finalists in the bid. But still no news was forthcoming about the official list.

Delay, Delay and More Delay
A month later, as of September, and there was still no official pronouncement. Nor was anybody talking. BfArM, the regulatory agency that is supervising this rollout as well as the regulation of all narcotic drugs (sort of like a German version of the FDA) has been issuing non-statement statements since the late summer. Aurora, however, one of the top contenders for cultivation here, was quietly issued an ex-im license by both Canadian and German authorities. Publicly, this has been described as an effort to help stem the now chronic cannabis shortage facing patients who attempt to go through legitimate, prescribed channels. On the German side, intriguingly, this appears to be a provisional license. Privately, some wondered if this was the beginning of a backdoor approval process for the top scoring bid applicants for cultivation. Although why that might be remains unclear.

Whispered rumours by industry sources that wish to remain anonymous, have suggested that the entire bid is still hanging in jeopardy. Late in the month, rumours began to fly that there were now lawsuits against the bid process. Nobody had much detail. Not to mention specifics. But CannabisIndustryJournal can now confirm in fact that there have been two lawsuits (so far).

The summary of the complaints? It appears that two parties, filing with the “Bundeskartellamt” (or regulatory office focusing on monopolies and unfair business practices) did not think the bid process or scoring system was fair. And both parties also lost.

But as of mid-October, there is still no public decision on the bids. What gives?

Whispered rumours by industry sources that wish to remain anonymous, have suggested that the entire bid is still hanging in jeopardy. Even though the plaintiffs failed, some have suggested that the German government might force a complete redo. Others hint that it will likely be slightly revised to be more inclusive but the regulatory standards must remain. If a redo is in the cards, will the German government decide to increase the total amount of yearly cannabis to be delivered? At this point, it is only calling for 2,000 kg per year by 2019. And that, as everyone knows, is far too little for a market that is exploding no matter the many other obstacles, like insurance companies refusing to compensate patients.

What Is Behind The Continued Delays?
There are several theories circulating the higher levels of the cannabis industry internationally right now even if no one is willing to be quoted. The first is that the total number of successful applicants, including the recent litigants, will be slightly expanded, but stay more or less the same. There is a high standard here for the import of medical cannabis that the Germans intend on duplicating domestically.

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA – the often controversial free trade alliance between Europe and Canada) is still in the final stages of approval.The second is that the German government will take its time on announcing the final winners and just open the doors to more imported product. This will not be popular with German insurers, who are on the hook to pay the difference. However with Tilray now on track to open a processing facility in Portugal and Canopy now aligned with Alcaliber in Spain, cross-continent import might be one option the government is also weighing as a stop-gap provision. Tilray, who publicly denied in the German press that they were participating in the cultivation license during the summer, just issued a press release in October announcing a national distribution deal to pharmacies with a German partner – for cannabis oil.

But then there is another possibility behind the delay. The government might also be waiting for another issue to resolve – one that has nothing to do with cannabis specifically, but in fact is now right in the middle of the discussion.

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA – the often controversial free trade alliance between Europe and Canada) is still in the final stages of approval. In fact, on September 19, a prominent German politician, Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democrats (SPD) made a major statement about his party’s willingness to support Germany’s backing of the deal. It might be in fact, that the German government, which is supportive of CETA, got spooked about the cannabis lawsuits as test trials against not cannabis legalization, but a threat to the treaty itself.

Quality control, namely pesticides when it comes to plant matter, and the right of companies to sue governments are two of the most controversial aspects of this trade deal. And both appear to have risen, like old bong smoke, right at the final leg of closing the cannabis cultivation bid.

Will cannabis be seen as a flagship test for the seaworthiness of CETA? On a very interesting level, that answer may be yes. And will CETA in turn create a different discussion about regulatory compliance in an industry that has been, from the beginning of this year, decidedly Canadian-Deutsch? That is also on the table. And of great concern to those who follow the regulatory issues inherent in all. Not to mention, of course, the industry itself.

Conclusions?
Right now, there are none to be had.

However at present, the German bid process is several months behind schedule as Canadian producers themselves face a new wrinkle at home – the regulation of the recreational crop in the provinces.

It is also clear that there are a lot of questions and not a whole lot of answers. Not to mention a timeline when the smoke will clear.

Marguerite Arnold
Founder
MedPayRx
Marguerite Arnold is an American expat now living in Germany. She has just recieved her EMBA from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. She has a 25 year background in both cannabis reform and technology. She has been covering the international marijuana industry as a journalist and author since 2014. She continues to cover developments in the industry as she launches her own cannabis-tech firm, a company called MedPayRx, which aspires to be the first insurance and banking solution for cannabis patients in the world.


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European Union COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) 2017/1155 of 15 February 2017 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 as regards the control measures relating to the cultivation of hemp

30.6.2017
EN
Official Journal of the European Union
L 167/1
COMMISSION DELEGATED REGULATION (EU) 2017/1155
of 15 February 2017
amending Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 as regards the control measures relating to the cultivation of hemp, certain provisions on the greening payment, the payment for young farmers in control of a legal person, the calculation of the per unit amount in the framework of voluntary coupled support, the fractions of payment entitlements and certain notification requirements relating to the single area payment scheme and the voluntary coupled support, and amending Annex X to Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council
THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION,
Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
Having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing rules for direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 637/2008 and Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 (1), and in particular Article 35(2) and (3), Articles 44(5)(b) and 46(9)(a) and (c), Article 50(11), Article 52(9)(a) and Article 67(1) and (2)(a) thereof,
Whereas:
(1)
According to Article 35(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts making the granting of payments conditional upon the use of certified seeds of certain hemp varieties and laying down the procedure for the determination of hemp varieties and the verification of their tetrahydrocannabinol content (THC content) referred to in Article 32(6) of that Regulation. At present, Article 9 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 (2) only provides for the obligation to use seed of the varieties listed in the ‘Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species’ and to use seed certified in accordance with Council Directive 2002/57/EC (3). The rules for the determination of hemp varieties and the verification of their THC content currently laid down in Article 45 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 809/2014 (4) and the Annex to that Regulation should be included in Article 9 of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014.
(2)
The rules for the determination of hemp varieties and the verification of the THC content are based on the assumption that hemp is cultivated as main crop, but they are not fully suitable for hemp cultivated as catch crop. As this latter cultivation method has proved to be appropriate for industrial hemp and compatible with environmental requirements, it is justified to adapt both provisions to take into account the characteristics of hemp cultivated as catch crop. In that context, it is also appropriate to provide a definition of hemp cultivated as catch crop.
(3)
Article 24 of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 lays down requirements for the activation of payment entitlements. In order to avoid any diverging interpretation, it is appropriate to clarify that for the purposes of Article 31(1)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, also a fraction of a payment entitlement is considered as fully activated. However, it should be stated explicitly that the payment is calculated on the basis of the corresponding fraction of an eligible hectare.
(4)
Articles 38 to 48 of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 lay down rules supplementing the provisions on standard greening practices established by Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013. On the basis of the experience gained during the first year in which those practices were applied, it is necessary to amend certain aspects of those rules in order to simplify the implementation of the greening practices for the benefit of farmers and national administrations while maintaining or improving the environment and climate impact. In particular, the modifications should contribute to address the actions identified in the conclusions of the Mid-Term Review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and enable progress of the coverage of agricultural area by biodiversity related measures under the common agricultural policy (5).
(5)
In the rules on the calculation of shares of different crops for crop diversification set out in Article 40 of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, the crop diversification period is based on traditional cultivation practices in Member States. It is appropriate to allow Member States to fix different periods at regional or sub-regional level in order to take into account possible diverse climatic conditions within a territory of a Member State. In some specific situations where a significant variety of crops on a small area exists, it should be possible, in order to simplify the declaration of crops grown, to declare them as one mixed crop.
(6)
As regards land lying fallow, setting a period in Article 45(2) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 during which there should be no agricultural production is fundamental to ensure the environmental effectiveness of such land and to avoid any confusion with other areas such as grasslands. In order to take into account the different agro-climatic conditions across the Union, Member States should have the possibility to set such period to allow farmers to resume main crops before the end of the year. However, such period should not be shorter than 6 months in order to meet the objectives of environmental effectiveness and to avoid any confusion with other areas.
(7)
The distinction between different landscape features listed in Article 45(4) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 is a source of uncertainty for farmers when declaring ecological focus areas. In order to reduce this uncertainty, simplify the management of the scheme for Member States’ authorities and address the complexity encountered by farmers when declaring ecological focus areas, hedges and wooded strips referred to in point (a) of that provision and trees in line referred to in point (c) of that provision should be grouped as one type of landscape feature so that one single dimension limit applies to them. Moreover, for the same reasons, the areas referred to in Article 45(4)(d) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 should be grouped under field copses.
(8)
Furthermore, even if, as stated in recital 51 of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, maximum dimensions of landscape features are needed to ensure that the area is predominantly agricultural, such dimension limits should not lead to the exclusion of features that exceed such dimensions but which are valuable for biodiversity. Therefore, the area which may be qualified as a landscape feature pursuant to Article 45(4) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 should be calculated up to the maximum dimension of the feature.
(9)
Given the high environmental benefit of riparian vegetation referred to in the fifth subparagraph of Article 45(4) and in Article 45(5) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, it is appropriate to set out that all riparian vegetation should be taken into account for the purpose of calculating the ecological focus areas.
(10)
For the same reasons as mentioned in recitals 7 and 8 in relation to Article 45(4) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, field margins, currently referred to in point (e) of that provision, should be merged with buffer strips in Article 45(5) of that Regulation and a single dimension limit should be set in relation to buffer strips and field margins. Such maximum dimension in relation to buffer strips and field margins should refer to the area which may be qualified as buffer strips and field margins pursuant to Article 45(5) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014. In order to provide the maximum flexibility to farmers, the definition of buffer strips under GAEC 1, SMR 1 or SMR 10 as referred to in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (6) and field margins protected under GAEC 7, SMR 2 or SMR 3 as referred to in that Annex, should be supplemented by other buffer strips and field margins, meaning any kind of strips not covered by these two categories under cross-compliance rules.
(11)
The second subparagraph of Article 46(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 allows landscape features and buffer strips adjacent to arable land to be considered as ecological focus areas. In order to maximise the environmental benefit of landscape features and buffer strips referred to in Article 45(4) and (5) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 and encourage the protection and maintenance of additional elements, this provision should be supplemented with rules offering flexibility by taking into account other environmentally valuable elements which fulfil the definition of these ecological focus area types and which are not adjacent to the arable land of the holding. Therefore, where such buffer strip and field margin or landscape feature is adjacent to the ecological focus area directly adjacent to the arable land of a holding, it should also be recognised as an ecological focus area.
(12)
For the same reasons as mentioned in recitals 7 and 8 in relation to Article 45(4) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, the maximum dimensions set in relation to strips of eligible hectares along forest edges referred to in Article 45(7) of that Regulation should refer to the area which may be qualified as such strips pursuant to that provision.
(13)
In light of the provisions of point (g) of the first subparagraph of Article 46(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 it is appropriate to clarify that the establishment of the requirements as regards the use of mineral fertilisers and/or plant protection products is relevant only in case such input products are authorised.
(14)
The existing deadline for sowing of catch crops and green cover laid down in Article 45(9) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 does not always fit with the agronomic and climatic conditions. With a view to better achieving the environmental objectives of this ecological focus area type, it is appropriate to replace the deadline for sowing of catch crops and green cover with a minimum period of time during which areas under catch crops and green cover have to be in place. In order to provide the necessary flexibility to take into account seasonal weather conditions, Member States should be allowed to fix that period at the most appropriate geographical level. However, since the permanence of catch crops and green cover on the ground is a key factor in ensuring an effective take up of residual nitrate and coverage of soil while the area is not covered by the main crop, the minimum length of the period should be set at Union level. In order to be consistent with the interpretation provided on the definition of grasses or other herbaceous forage laid down in Article 4(1)(i) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, under-sowing leguminous crops in the main crop should also be possible. Furthermore, in order to ensure consistency between equivalent practices covered by commitments and certification schemes as referred to in Article 43(3)(a) and (b) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, respectively, rules on qualifying catch crops or green cover as ecological focus areas should be aligned.
(15)
Even if, as a general rule only areas with nitrogen-fixing crops grown as pure species should be qualified as ecological focus areas, given that in traditional cultivation practices such crops are often mixed with other crops, it is appropriate to allow, under Article 45(10) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, that areas with mixtures may also be qualified as ecological focus areas provided that the predominance of the nitrogen-fixing crops in such mixtures is ensured. In addition, based on the experience with the application of the first subparagraph of Article 45(10) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 and in light of the implementation of Council Directive 91/676/EEC (7) and Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (8), it is superfluous to prescribe specific rules on the location of these nitrogen-fixing crops. Instead, and with a view to strengthening Member States efforts to address the risk of nitrogen leaching in the autumn, Member States should be allowed to establish additional conditions on nitrogen-fixing crops if necessary. Furthermore, in order to ensure consistency between equivalent practices covered by commitments and certification schemes as referred to in Article 43(3)(a) and (b) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, respectively, rules on qualifying nitrogen-fixing crops as ecological focus area should be aligned.
(16)
Experience with the application of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 has proven that certain provisions relating to the ecological focus area types need to be more detailed as regards the requirement of ‘no production’ including the rules on cutting and grazing with a view to meeting the objective of biodiversity and to ensuring consistency with other instruments of the common agricultural policy. In particular, as regards the ‘no agricultural production’ requirement applicable to the ecological focus area types referred to in Article 45(2), (4)(e), (5) and (7) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, it should be clarified that production should be understood as agricultural activity in the meaning of Article 4(1)(c)(i) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, and not in the broader sense of Article 4(1)(c)(ii) and (iii) of the same Regulation, and should not affect the rules on minimum soil cover under GAEC 4 as referred to in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013. In addition, undertaking actions by farmers, in particular, by facilitating pollination, in order to safeguard and improve biodiversity, aiming at establishing a green soil cover and which are, for instance, covered by an agri-environment-climate commitment, should be incentivised to maximise the environmental benefits.
(17)
Given that the three main types of areas declared by farmers as ecological focus areas in the first year of implementation of Article 46 of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 are areas which are, or may be, productive, namely land lying fallow, catch crops or green cover and nitrogen-fixing crops, plant production products are likely to be used in ecological focus areas. Therefore, in order to safeguard and improve biodiversity in line with the objectives of ‘greening’, it is appropriate to ban the use of plant protection products on the following ecological focus areas which are or may be productive: land lying fallow, strips of eligible hectares along forest edges with production, catch crops or green cover and nitrogen-fixing crops. Where catch crops or green cover is established by under-sowing grass or leguminous crops in the main crop, in order to avoid, for proportionality reasons, consequences for the management of the main crop, such a ban should apply from the moment of the harvesting of the main crop. In order to ensure consistency of the ban with the usual agronomic practices, ensure legal certainty and avoid administrative difficulties for farmers and national administrations it should be specified that the ban for under-sowing should apply for at least a minimum period, equal to the minimum period during which areas under catch crops or green cover have to be in place when established by sowing a mixture of crop species, or until the sowing of the next main crop.
(18)
Article 49 of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 lays down the rules under which legal persons have access to the payment for young farmers provided for in Article 50(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013. On the basis of the experience gained with the application of Article 49(3) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, a further clarification should be provided as to the interpretation of the requirement laid down in point (b) of Article 50(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 in respect of the time when a young farmer who exercises effective and long-term control over a legal person has to comply with the age limit. In particular, it is appropriate to clarify that the young farmer has to comply with the age limit of 40 years in the year of the first submission of an application under the basic payment scheme or the single area payment scheme by the legal person with a young farmer in control.
(19)
According to the second subparagraph of Article 53(2) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, the per unit amount of voluntary coupled support results from the ratio between the amount fixed for the financing of the relevant measure and either the quantitative limit fixed pursuant to the first subparagraph of Article 53(2), or the number of hectares or animals that are eligible for the support in the year in question. It is appropriate to reformulate that provision in such a way that Member States may fix the per unit amount at a value within the range between those two values where the number of eligible units is lower than the quantitative limit.
(20)
Pursuant to Article 64(5) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, Member States applying the single area payment scheme in accordance with Article 36 of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 are to notify the Commission by 1 September each year of the total number of hectares declared by farmers under that scheme. However, that information is notified to the Commission annually in more detail pursuant to Article 9(1) of Implementing Regulation (EU) No 809/2014. Article 64(5) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 can therefore be deleted.
(21)
Based on the Commission’s experience with the management of the notifications relating to greening pursuant to Article 65 to Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, some adjustments should be made as regards their content, including with respect to greening provisions of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 as amended by this Regulation.
(22)
In accordance with Article 67(2) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014, Member States are to notify the Commission of the total number of beneficiaries, the amount of the payments which have been granted as well as the total area and the total number of animals for which the support has actually been paid for each coupled support measure and each of the specific types of farming or specific agricultural sectors concerned.
(23)
As from claim year 2015, the total number of beneficiaries and the total area or total number of animals claimed and determined for each voluntary coupled support measure are notified by Member States in accordance with Article 9(1) and (3) of Implementing Regulation (EU) No 809/2014. Furthermore, as from claim year 2016, the amount of the payments which have been granted for each coupled support measure will be included in the communications of information by the Member States in accordance with Article 10 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 908/2014 (9). Therefore, Article 67(2) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 should be deleted.
(24)
Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 should therefore be amended accordingly.
(25)
As a consequence of the amendment of certain provisions of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 concerning the ecological focus area types, changes to Annex X to Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 need to be made, in particular by adapting the list of ecological focus area types and the corresponding factors, where necessary. Recital 45 of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 emphasises the importance of ecological focus areas to be established in a coherent way. Therefore, conversion and weighting factors applicable to equivalent practices have to be consistent with the factors applicable to similar or identical standard practices. In the interest of legal certainty and equal treatment between farmers, Annex X to Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 should be amended accordingly.
(26)
This Regulation should enter into force on the third day after its publication. However, as the clarification of Article 49(3) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 and the reformulation of the second subparagraph of Article 53(2) of that Regulation reflect an interpretation given to those provisions since the application of that Regulation, it is appropriate that those amendments apply retroactively. Considering the time necessary for the national authorities to update their existing administrative tools and to inform farmers sufficiently in advance of the amendments of the greening provisions made by this Regulation, those amendments should only apply with respect to aid applications relating to calendar years starting as from 1 January 2018. However, Member States should be given the possibility to apply them with respect to aid applications relating to calendar year 2017 while bearing in mind that any choices in this regard should be coherent from the perspective of farmers. A notification obligation as regards consequential changes to previous notifications relating to that calendar year should be provided for,
HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:
Article 1
Amendment of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014
Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 is amended as follows:
(1)
Article 9 is replaced by the following:
‘Article 9
Hemp
1. For the purposes of Article 32(6) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, the eligibility of areas used for the production of hemp shall be subject to the use of seed of the varieties listed in the “Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species” on 15 March of the year in respect of which the payment is granted and published in accordance with Article 17 of Council Directive 2002/53/EC (*1). The seed shall be certified in accordance with Council Directive 2002/57/EC (*2).
2. Member States shall establish the system for determining the Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol content (hereinafter referred to as “THC content”) in hemp varieties, which allows them to apply the method set out in Annex III.
3. The competent authority of the Member State shall keep the records related to findings on the THC content. Such records shall comprise for each variety at least the results in terms of THC content from each sample expressed in percentage to two decimal places, the procedure used, the number of tests carried out, an indication of the point at which the sample was taken and measures taken at national level.
4. If an average of all the samples of a given variety exceeds the THC content as laid down in Article 32(6) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, Member States shall use procedure B as described in Annex III to this Regulation for the variety concerned in the course of the following claim year. That procedure shall be used in the course of the next claim years unless all the analytical results for the given variety are below the THC content as laid down in Article 32(6) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013.
5. If for the second year the average of all the samples of a given variety exceeds the THC content as laid down in Article 32(6) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, the Member State shall notify the Commission of the request for authorisation to prohibit the marketing of such variety in accordance with Article 18 of Directive 2002/53/EC. Such notification shall be sent in accordance with Commission Regulation (EC) No 792/2009 (*3) by 15 January of the following claim year at the latest. Starting from that claim year, the variety covered by that request shall not be eligible for direct payments in the Member State concerned.
6. For the purposes of this Regulation, “hemp cultivated as catch crop” means crop of hemp sown after 30 June of a given year.
7. Crops of hemp shall continue to be cultivated under normal growing conditions in accordance with local practice for at least 10 days from the date of the end of flowering so that the checks necessary for the application of this Article can be made. Hemp cultivated as catch crop shall continue to be cultivated under normal growing conditions in accordance with local practice at least until the end of the vegetation period.
However, Member States may authorise hemp to be harvested after flowering has begun but before the end of the 10-day period after the end of flowering, provided that the inspectors indicate which representative parts of each plot concerned must continue to be cultivated for at least 10 days following the end of flowering for inspection purposes, in accordance with the method set out in Annex III.
(*1) Council Directive 2002/53/EC of 13 June 2002 on the common catalogue of varieties of agricultural plant species (OJ L 193, 20.7.2002, p. 1).”
(*2) Council Directive 2002/57/EC of 13 June 2002 on the marketing of seed of oil and fibre plants (OJ L 193, 20.7.2002, p. 74).”
(*3) Commission Regulation (EC) No 792/2009 of 31 August 2009 laying down detailed rules for the Member States’ notification to the Commission of information and documents in implementation of the common organisation of the markets, the direct payments’ regime, the promotion of agricultural products and the regimes applicable to the outermost regions and the smaller Aegean islands (OJ L 228, 1.9.2009, p. 3).’”
(2)
In Article 24, paragraph 2 is replaced by the following:
‘2. Where a farmer declares a number of payment entitlements exceeding his total eligible area declared pursuant to Article 33(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, the payment entitlement or the fraction of a payment entitlement which is partially exceeding that eligible area shall be deemed as fully activated for the purposes of Article 31(1)(b) of that Regulation. However, the payment shall be calculated on the basis of the corresponding fraction of an eligible hectare.’
(3)
Article 40 is amended as follows:
(a)
in the first subparagraph of paragraph 1, the following sentence is added:
‘That period may be fixed at national, regional or the appropriate sub-regional level.’;
(b)
in paragraph 3, the following fourth subparagraph is added:
‘Areas on which different crops are grown next to each other, where each single crop covers an area that is smaller than the minimum size set by Member States referred to in the second subparagraph of Article 72(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013, may be considered by Member States as covered with one ‘mixed crop’ as referred to in the third subparagraph of this paragraph.’
(4)
Article 45 is amended as follows:
(a)
paragraph 2 is replaced by the following:
‘2. On land lying fallow there shall be no agricultural production. Member States shall fix a period during which the land must be lying fallow in a given calendar year. That period shall not be shorter than 6 months. By way of derogation from Article 4(1)(h) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, land lying fallow for the purpose of fulfilling the ecological focus area for more than 5 years shall remain arable land.’;
(b)
paragraphs 4 and 5 are replaced by the following:
‘4. Landscape features shall be at the disposal of the farmer and may be those that are protected under GAEC 7, SMR 2 or SMR 3 as referred to in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 and/or one or more of the following features:
(a)
hedges, wooded strips or trees in line;
(b)
isolated trees;
(c)
field copses including trees, bushes or stones;
(d)
ponds. Reservoirs made of concrete or plastic shall not be considered ecological focus areas;
(e)
ditches, including open watercourses for the purpose of irrigation or drainage. Channels with walls of concrete shall not be considered ecological focus areas.
(f)
traditional stone walls.
Member States may decide to limit the selection of landscape features to those under GAEC 7, SMR 2 or SMR 3 as referred to in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 and/or to one or more of points (a) to (f) of the first subparagraph.
For the hedges, wooded strips and trees in line as well as ditches referred to in points (a) and (e) of the first subparagraph, respectively, the area to be qualified as ecological focus area shall be calculated up to a maximum width of 10 metres.
For the field copses and ponds referred to in points (c) and (d) of the first subparagraph, respectively, the area to be qualified as ecological focus area shall be calculated up to a maximum size of 0,3 hectare.
For the purposes of point (d) of the first subparagraph, Member States may set a minimum size for ponds. Where there is a strip with riparian vegetation along the water the corresponding area shall be included for the purpose of calculating the ecological focus area. Member States may establish criteria to ensure that ponds are of natural value, taking into account the role that natural ponds play for the conservation of habitats and species.
For the purposes of point (f) of the first subparagraph, Member States shall establish minimum criteria based on national or regional specificities, including limits to the dimensions of height and width.
5. Buffer strips and field margins may be any buffer strips and field margins including those buffer strips along water courses required under GAEC 1, SMR 1 or SMR 10 as referred to in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 or field margins protected under GAEC 7, SMR 2 or SMR 3 as referred to in that Annex.
Member States shall not limit the selection of buffer strips and field margins to those required under the cross compliance rules referred to in the first subparagraph.
Member States shall establish the minimum width of buffer strips and field margins which shall not be below 1 metre for ecological focus area purposes. Along water courses, riparian vegetation shall be included for the purpose of calculating the ecological focus area. There shall be no agricultural production on buffer strips and field margins.
For buffer strips and field margins other than those required or protected under GAEC 1, GAEC 7, SMR 1, SMR 2, SMR 3 or SMR 10 as referred to in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013, the area to be qualified as ecological focus area shall be calculated up to a maximum width of 20 metres.’;
(c)
the following paragraph 5a is inserted:
‘5a. For the purposes of the second sentence of the second subparagraph of Article 46(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, areas referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 of this Article shall be considered as adjacent areas or features where they are adjacent to an ecological focus area directly adjacent to the arable land of the holding.’;
(d)
paragraphs 7 to 10 are replaced by the following:
‘7. As regards strips of eligible hectares along forest edges Member States may decide either to allow agricultural production or to establish a requirement of no agricultural production, or to provide the two options for farmers. Member States shall establish the minimum width of those strips, which shall not be below 1 metre.
The area to be qualified as ecological focus area shall be calculated up to a maximum width of 10 metres where Member States decide to allow agricultural production and 20 metres where Member States decide not to allow agricultural production.
8. For areas with short rotation coppice with no use of mineral fertiliser and/or plant protection products, Member States shall establish a list of species that may be used for this purpose, by selecting from the list established pursuant to Article 4(2)(c) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 the species that are most suitable from an ecological perspective, thereby excluding species that are clearly not indigenous. Member States shall also establish the requirements as regards the use of mineral fertilisers and/or plant protection products in case Member States authorise their use, keeping in mind the objective of ecological focus areas in particular to safeguard and improve biodiversity.
9. Areas under catch crops or green cover shall include such areas established pursuant to the requirements under SMR 1 as referred to in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 as well as other areas under catch crops or green cover, on the condition that they were established by sowing a mixture of crop species or by under-sowing grass or leguminous crops in the main crop.
Member States shall set up the list of mixtures of crop species to be used and fix the period at national, regional, sub-regional or farm level during which areas under catch crops or green cover when established by sowing a mixture of crop species have to be in place. This period shall not be less than 8 weeks. Member States may establish additional conditions notably with regard to production methods.
Areas under catch crops or green cover shall not include areas under winter crops which are sown in autumn normally for harvesting or for grazing. They shall also not include the areas covered with equivalent practices mentioned in points I.3 and 4 of Annex IX to Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013.
10. On areas with nitrogen-fixing crops, farmers shall grow those nitrogen-fixing crops which are included in a list established by the Member State. That list shall contain the nitrogen-fixing crops that the Member State considers as contributing to the objective of improving biodiversity and may include mixtures of nitrogen-fixing crops with other crops provided that nitrogen-fixing crop species are predominant. Those crops shall be present during the growing season. Member States may establish additional conditions notably with regard to production method, in particular with a view to taking into account the need to meet the objectives of Directive 91/676/EEC and Directive 2000/60/EC, given the potential of nitrogen-fixing crops to increase the risk of nitrogen leaching in the autumn.
Areas with nitrogen-fixing crops shall not include the areas covered with equivalent practices mentioned in points I.3 and 4 of Annex IX to Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013.’;
(e)
the following paragraphs 10a, 10b and 10c are inserted:
‘10a. For the purposes of paragraphs 2, 5 and 7, “no agricultural production” means no agricultural activity as defined in Article 4(1)(c)(i) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, without prejudice to the requirements defined under GAEC 4 as referred to in Annex II to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013. Actions aiming at establishing a green soil cover for biodiversity purposes, including sowing mixtures of wild flower seeds, shall be allowed.
However, by way of derogation from the “no production” requirement, for the purposes of paragraphs 5 and 7, Member States may allow cutting or grazing on buffer strips and field margins as well as on strips of eligible hectares along forest edges without production, provided that the strip remains distinguishable from adjacent agricultural land.
10b. The use of plant protection products shall be prohibited on all areas referred to in paragraphs 2, 9 and 10 as well as on areas with agricultural production referred to in paragraph 7.
10c. On areas referred to in paragraph 9 established by under-sowing grass or leguminous crops in the main crop, this prohibition shall apply from the moment of the harvesting of the main crop for at least 8 weeks or until the sowing of the next main crop.’
(5)
In Article 49(3), the following subparagraph is added:
‘A young farmer who exercises effective and long-term control over the legal person within the meaning of point (b) of the first subparagraph of paragraph 1 of this Article shall, for the purposes of Article 50(2)(b) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, be no more than 40 years of age in the year of the first submission of an application under the basic payment scheme or the single area payment scheme by that legal person with a young farmer in control.’
(6)
In Article 53(2), the second subparagraph is replaced by the following:
‘The annual payment shall be expressed as the per unit amount of support. It may be either one of the following amounts, or, when the area or the number of animals eligible for the support does not exceed the area or the number of animals fixed as referred to in the first subparagraph of this paragraph, an amount between them:
(a)
the ratio between the amount fixed for the financing of the measure as notified according to point (3)(i) of Annex I to this Regulation and the area or the number of animals eligible for the support in the year in question;
(b)
the ratio between the amount fixed for the financing of the measure as notified according to point (3)(i) of Annex I to this Regulation and the area or the number of animals fixed as referred to in the first subparagraph of this paragraph.’
(7)
In Article 64, paragraph 5 is deleted.
(8)
Article 65(1) is amended as follows:
(a)
point (c) is amended as follows:
(i)
point (ii) is replaced by the following:
‘(ii)
the total number of farmers exempted from one or more greening practices and the number of hectares declared by such farmers, the number of farmers exempted from all practices because they comply with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, the number of farmers participating in the small farmer scheme, the number of farmers exempted from the crop diversification obligation, and the number of farmers exempted from the ecological focus area obligation, and the respective number of hectares declared by such farmers;’;
(ii)
point (vi) is replaced by the following:
‘(vi)
the total number of farmers declaring environmentally sensitive permanent grassland, the total number of hectares covered by environmentally sensitive permanent grassland declared by such farmers, the total number of hectares of designated environmentally sensitive permanent grasslands and the total number of hectares of permanent grassland in areas covered by Directives 92/43/EEC or 2009/147/EC;’;
(b)
the following point (e) is added:
‘(e)
by 1 August of each year, the period to be taken into account for the calculation of the shares of different crops in accordance with Article 40(1) of this Regulation, as well as the geographical level at which that period is fixed.’
(9)
In Article 67, paragraph 2 is deleted.
(10)
Annex III is added, the text of which is set out in Annex I to this Regulation.
Article 2
Amendment of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013
Annex X to Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 is replaced by the text set out in Annex II to this Regulation.
Article 3
Transitional measures
1. By way of derogation from the second paragraph of Article 4, Member States may decide to apply some or all of the amendments made by points (3), (4) and (8) of Article 1 and, as a consequence, the amendment made by Article 2 in relation to standard ecological focus area features, with respect to aid applications relating to calendar year 2017.
2. Member States shall notify the Commission and shall inform farmers of the decision referred to in paragraph 1 and of the consequential changes to the notifications made pursuant to Article 65(1) to (4) of Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 no later than 1 month after the entry into force of this Regulation.
Article 4
Entry into force and application
This Regulation shall enter into force on the third day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Points (3), (4), and (8) of Article 1 and Article 2 shall apply with respect to aid applications relating to calendar years starting as from 1 January 2018.
Points (5) and (6) of Article 1 shall apply with respect to aid applications relating to calendar years subsequent to calendar year 2014.
This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.
Done at Brussels, 15 February 2017.
For the Commission
The President
Jean-Claude JUNCKER
(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 608.
(2) Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 639/2014 of 11 March 2014 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing rules for direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the common agricultural policy and amending Annex X to that Regulation (OJ L 181, 20.6.2014, p. 1).
(3) Council Directive 2002/57/EC of 13 June 2002 on the marketing of seed of oil and fibre plants (OJ L 193, 20.7.2002, p. 74).
(4) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 809/2014 of 17 July 2014 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the integrated administration and control system, rural development measures and cross compliance (OJ L 227, 31.7.2014, p. 69).
(5) COM(2015) 478 final, Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council — The Mid Term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.
(6) Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 352/78, (EC) No 165/94, (EC) No 2799/98, (EC) No 814/2000, (EC) No 1290/2005 and (EC) No 485/2008 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 549).
(7) Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources (OJ L 375, 31.12.1991, p. 1).
(8) Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1).
(9) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 908/2014 of 6 August 2014 laying down rules for the application of Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to paying agencies and other bodies, financial management, clearance of accounts, rules on checks, securities and transparency (OJ L 255, 28.8.2014, p. 59).
ANNEX I

ANNEX III
Union method for the quantitative determination of the Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol content in hemp varieties
1. Scope
The method set out in this Annex seeks to determine the Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (hereinafter referred to as THC) content of varieties of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.). As appropriate, the method involves applying procedure A or B as described in this Annex.
The method is based on the quantitative determination of THC by gas chromatography (GC) after extraction with a suitable solvent.
1.1. Procedure A
Procedure A shall be used for checks on the production of hemp as referred to in Article 32(6) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 and Article 30(g) of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 809/2014 (*1).
1.2. Procedure B
Procedure B shall be used in cases as referred to in Article 36(6) of Implementing Regulation (EU) No 809/2014.
2. Sampling
2.1. Samples
The samples shall be taken during the day following a systematic pattern to ensure that the sample is representative of the field, but excluding the edges of the crop.
2.1.1. Procedure A: in a standing crop of a given variety of hemp, a 30 cm part containing at least one female inflorescence of each plant selected shall be taken. Sampling shall be carried out during the period running from 20 days after the start of flowering to 10 days after the end of flowering.
Member States may authorise sampling to be carried out during the period from the start of flowering to 20 days after the start of flowering provided that, for each variety grown, other representative samples are taken in accordance with the first subparagraph during the period from 20 days after the start of flowering to 10 days after the end of flowering.
For hemp cultivated as catch crop, in the absence of female inflorescences, the top 30 cm of the plant stem shall be taken. In that case sampling shall be carried out just before the end of the vegetation period, once the leaves begin presenting the first signs of yellowing, however no later than the onset of a forecast period of frost.
2.1.2. Procedure B: in a standing crop of a given variety of hemp, the upper third of each plant selected shall be taken. Sampling shall be carried out during the 10 days following the end of flowering or, for hemp cultivated as catch crop, in the absence of female inflorescences, just before the end of the vegetation period, once the leaves begin presenting the first sign of yellowing, but no later than the onset of a forecast period of frost. In the case of dioecious varieties, only female plants shall be taken.
2.2. Sample size
Procedure A: the sample shall comprise parts of 50 plants per field.
Procedure B: the sample shall comprise parts of 200 plants per field.
Each sample shall be placed in a fabric or paper bag, without crushing it, and be sent to the laboratory for analysis.
The Member State may provide for a second sample to be collected for counteranalysis, if required, to be kept either by the producer or by the body responsible for the analysis.
2.3. Drying and storage of the sample
Drying of the samples shall begin as soon as possible and, in any case, within 48 hours using any method below 70 °C.
Samples shall be dried to a constant weight and to a moisture content of between 8 % and 13 %.
After drying, the samples shall be stored without crushing them at below 25 °C in a dark place.
3. Determination of THC content
3.1. Preparation of the test sample
Stems and seeds over 2 mm in size shall be removed from the dried samples.
The dried samples shall be grinded to obtain a semi-fine powder (passing through a 1 mm mesh sieve).
The powder may be stored for 10 weeks at below 25 °C in a dark, dry place.
3.2. Reagents and extraction solution
Reagents

Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, pure for chromatographic purposes,

squalane, pure for chromatographic purposes, as an internal standard.
Extraction solution

35 mg of squalane per 100 ml hexane.
3.3. Extraction of THC
100 mg of the powdered test sample shall be weighed, be placed in a centrifuge tube and 5 ml of extraction solution shall be added containing the internal standard.
The sample shall be placed in an ultrasound bath and be left for 20 minutes. It shall be centrifuged for 5 minutes at 3 000 r.p.m. and then the supernatant THC solution shall be removed. The solution shall be injected into the chromatograph and a quantitative analysis shall be carried out.
3.4. Gas chromatography
(a) Apparatus

gas chromatograph with a flame ionisation detector and a split/splitless injector,

column allowing good separation of cannabinoids, for example a glass capillary column 25 m long and 0,22 mm in diameter impregnated with a 5 % non-polar phenyl-methyl-siloxane phase.
(b) Calibration ranges
At least three points for procedure A and five points for procedure B, including points 0,04 and 0,50 mg/ml THC in extraction solution.
(c) Experimental conditions
The following conditions are given as an example for the column referred to in (a):

oven temperature 260 °C,

injector temperature 300 °C,

detector temperature 300 °C.
(d) Volume injected: 1 μl.
4. Results
The findings shall be expressed to two decimal places in grams of THC per 100 grams of analytical sample dried to constant weight. A tolerance of 0,03 g per 100 g shall apply.

Procedure A: one determination per test sample.
However, where the result obtained is above the limit laid down in Article 32(6) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013, a second determination shall be carried out per analysis sample and the mean value of the two determinations shall be taken as the result.

Procedure B: the result shall correspond to the mean value of two determinations per test sample.

ANNEX II

ANNEX X
Conversion and weighting factors referred to in Article 46(3)
Features
Conversion factor
(m/tree to m2)
Weighting factor
Ecological focus area
(if both factors are applied)
Land lying fallow (per 1 m2)
n.a.
1
1 m2
Terraces (per 1 m)
2
1
2 m2
Landscape features:

Hedges/wooded strips/trees in line (per 1 m)
5
2
10 m2

Isolated tree (per tree)
20
1,5
30 m2

Field copses (per 1 m2)
n.a.
1,5
1,5 m2

Ponds (per 1 m2)
n.a.
1,5
1,5 m2

Ditches (per 1 m)
5
2
10 m2

Traditional stone walls (per 1 m)
1
1
1 m2

Other features not listed above but protected under GAEC7, SMR 2 or SMR 3 (per 1 m2)
n.a.
1
1 m2
Buffer strips and field margins (per 1 m)
6
1,5
9 m2
Hectares of agro-forestry (per 1 m2)
n.a.
1
1 m2
Strips of eligible hectares along forest edges (per 1 m)

Without production
6
1,5
9 m2
With production
6
0,3
1,8 m2
Areas with short rotation coppice (per 1 m2)
n.a.
0,3
0,3 m2
Afforested areas as referred to in Article 32(2)(b)(ii) (per 1 m2)
n.a.
1
1 m2
Areas with catch crops or green cover (per 1 m2)
n.a.
0,3
0,3 m2
Areas with nitrogen-fixing crops (per 1 m2)
n.a.
0,7
0,7 m2
Conversion and weighting factors referred to in Article 46(3) to be applied to features included in the equivalent practices as listed in Section III of Annex IX
Equivalent ecological focus area
Similar standard ecological focus area
Conversion factor
Weighting factor
Ecological focus area (if both factors are applied)
(1)
Ecological set-aside (per 1 m2)
Land lying fallow
n.a.
1
1 m2
(2)
Creation of “buffer zones” (per 1 m)
Buffer strips and field margins
6
1,5
9 m2
(3)
Management of uncultivated buffer strips and field margins (per 1 m)
Buffer strips and field margins
6
1,5
9 m2
(4)
Borders, in-field strips and patches:

Borders, in-field strips (per 1 m)
Buffer strips and field margins
6
1,5
9 m2
Patches (per 1 m2)
Field copses
n.a.
1,5
1,5 m2
(5)
Management of landscape features:

Isolated tree (per tree)
Isolated tree
20
1,5
30 m2
Trees in line (per 1 m)
Hedges/wooded strips/trees in line
5
2
10 m2
Group of trees/Field copses (per 1 m2)
Field copses
n.a.
1,5
1,5 m2
Hedgerows (per 1m)
Hedges/wooded strips/trees in line
5
2
10 m2
Riparian woody vegetation (per 1m)
Hedges/wooded strips/trees in line
5
2
10 m2
Terraces (per 1m)
Terraces
2
1
2 m2
Stone walls (per 1m)
Traditional stone walls
1
1
1 m2
Ditches (per 1m)
Ditches
5
2
10 m2
Ponds (per 1 m2)
Ponds
n.a.
1,5
1,5 m2
(6)
Keeping arable peaty or wet soils under grass (no use of fertilisers and no use of plant protection products) (per 1 m2)
Land lying fallow
n.a.
1
1 m2
(7)
Production on arable land with no use of fertiliser and/or plant protection products, and not irrigated, not sown with the same crop two years in a row (per 1 m2)
Areas with short rotation coppice; Strips along forest edges with production; Areas with nitrogen-fixing crops
n.a.
0,3
0,7 for nitrogen-fixing crops
0,3 m2
0,7 m2
(8)
Conversion of arable land into permanent grassland (per 1 m2)
Land lying fallow
n.a.
1
1 m2


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The chairman of the German Association for Cannabis as Medicine Dr. Franjo Grotenherman, has entered an “indefinite” hunger strike until Germany “decriminalize all citizens who need cannabis to treat their serious diseases.”

On August 17, 2017, I entered an indefinite hunger strike. The objective of refusing to accept any food is to decriminalize all citizens who need cannabis to treat their serious diseases.

On March 10, 2017, a much-debated law on cannabis as a medicine went into effect in Germany. It was the declared aim of the legislature to allow all patients who need a therapy with cannabis medicines to do so. The law, however, proves itself in practice as bureaucratic. Therefore, a treatment with cannabis and cannabinoids is unattractive for doctors who in principle support such therapy. Many patients do not find a doctor who allows them legal access to the needed treatment.

The legislator has taken a great step into the right direction. However, many patients are still dependent on a still as illegal regarded treatment. They face criminal sanctions. This is no longer acceptable. Therefore a basic clarification in the narcotics law must be established. The prosecution of patients to whom a doctor has certified the need for a therapy with cannabis must end.

Already today, the German Narcotics Law allows prosecutors to stop a criminal case in the case of a „minor debt“. This possibility is mainly applied in cases of possession of small amounts of cannabis. I urge that criminal proceedings should in principle also be stopped if accused citizens need cannabis for medical reasons. The need for a cannabis therapy should not be judged by the judiciary, a government agency or a health insurance company, but, as with other medical treatments, also by a doctor.

I also strongly support the uncomplicated access of patients to standardized preparations from the pharmacy. In this respect, it is necessary to improve the existing law. However, the prosecution of the remaining losers of the legal situation must also be ended. I am not aware of a convincing argument by which patients‘ prosecution can be maintained. A corresponding amendment to the Narcotics Act is, therefore, logical and unavoidable.

Franjo Grotenhermen, born in 1957, studied medicine in Cologne. Medical practice in Rüthen (NRW) with a focus on therapy with cannabis and cannabinoids. Grotenhermen is the chairman of the German Association for Cannabis as Medicine (ACM), Executive Director of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) and Chairman of the Medical Cannabis Declaration (MCD), as well as author of the IACM-Bulletin, which is available in several languages ​​on the website of the IACM. Grotenhermen is an associate of the Cologne nova-Institut in the department of renewable resources and author of numerous articles and books on the therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids, their pharmaco logy and toxicology. Among others, since 2008 he has been an expert on debates in the Health Committee of the German Bundestag on the medical use of cannabis products, most recently in September 2016.

franjo