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In-Depth Coverage Of The Irish And European Markets

CBD Test case refused in the High Court

I wrote about the legal difficulties the CBD business in Ireland is facing a few weeks ago. One of the court’s many cases waiting to be heard has been finalised. The High Court has rejected the test case that contested Ireland's zero-tolerance approach to cannabis-based products with minute amounts of THC. According to Mr. Justice Owens, restricting the supply of pharmaceuticals was an appropriate legislative strategy that would maximize public safety.

This test case involved vials of hemp oil that were transported from Slovenia and intercepted in October 2021. They tested positive for THC, the psychoactive ingredient contained in cannabis. The Misuse of Drugs Act of 1977, according to Mr. Bogusas' legal team, conflicts with European Law, which permits the production of hemp containing minute levels of THC.

Other companies in Ireland assert that there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding CBD products, leading to frequent seizures of the product. Mr. Bogusas requested a court order for the Minister of Health to do a risk analysis and amend the statute to provide a threshold for THC products. According to Mr. Justice Owens' ruling, there was no direct evidence of the amount of THC present in the vials. The HSE testing of the oil only revealed the presence of THC, which, according to him, can be abused because CBD product users are not concerned about the maximum daily amount. It would be naïve to assume that potential customers, especially children, would not look for this, he said, in support of his assessment. He continued his judgment stating, “it would be naive to think that potential consumers including children would not seek out this product for the misuse of a psychotropic drug if it were freely available” and it was open to exploitation from criminals.

The 0.2% THC requirement, according to Mr Justice Owens, is based on rules governing hemp and assistance programs under the common agricultural policy and has nothing to do with preparations made by processing plant parts that produce psychoactive substances. He added that the threshold served as a gauge for the security of THC usage outside of medicine.

There are other cases being taken by businesses on this very issue, all due to be heard in the coming months. We remain hopeful that future cases can settle this issue once and for all and give much-needed clarity in this area.

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