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In-Depth Coverage Of The Irish And European Markets

NEWSLETTER | 28 February 2023

We read all the news, so you don’t have to. Our round-up of the recent headlines of interest from the Irish and European cannabis markets.


Some more signs of support from within the Irish Government for drug policy reform. In its recent drug policy report, the Oireachtas Justice Committee recommended that further research be carried out into the potential for cannabis social clubs in Ireland, as are common across Spain.

The Oireachtas Committee’s report has spurred recent discussions around drug policy reform, in line with European and international trends. The Green Party has voiced its support for reform, while Fine Gael is more divided on the issue.


While this seems like somewhat of an insignificant move in practice, it is part of a potential wider move to restrict access to its famous coffeeshops from non-Dutch residents. While the consensus is that an outright ban on tourists is unlikely, in some parts of the Netherlands this is already in effect.

With recreational cannabis legalisation promised in Germany, and with other EU states expected to follow, it seems more likely that recreational cannabis will be legalised in a number of EU States before tourists are banned from Amsterdam’s coffeeshops.


Cases like these can turn out to be important in the courts’ and the authorities’ approach to cannabis policy. Without knowing the full details of this case, it is disappointing that an individual cultivating cannabis for personal and medical use can still find themselves subject to a raid by the Gardaí. This serves as a warning to anyone cultivating cannabis at home that a call from the Gardaí is still a real possibility.


“The Lazio court also cited the lifting of a ban on hemp flowers in France last month as further justification for ordering the Italian decree abandoned. In the French ruling, the Council of State established the principle that an absolute ban on the commercialisation of cannabis leaves and flowers with a THC content below legal limits is not justified by any risks to public health.”

Hemp flower and CBD cases continue to be heard before courts across the EU. Recent Irish and German cases ruled against industry stakeholders who argue that low THC products are legal under EU law. On the other hand, here we see the Italian ruling that a ban on hemp flowers is not justified. This follows a similar finding in France recently.


“Working with other scientists from the University College Dublin and the James Hutton Institute, the Ananda team has already successfully produced viable pollen from a masculinized female cannabis plant. Moreover, Dr. Gale says that there are currently seeds being planted and grown that were produced from this selfing program.”

The global cannabis industry, and its various facets, have seen a renaissance of innovation in recent decades. The developments in feminized seeds have been crucial in the availability of seedless cannabis, which is substantially better quality than seeded cannabis. It is positive to see Irish universities involved in this continued innovation.


Some more good work from Hemp Cooperative Ireland’s Kate Carmody as she prepares to address the EU Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. The workshop entitled ‘Hemp in the Common Agricultural Policy Reform’ will provide information on EU support for hemp cultivation.

The address follows a report published last October by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine which found that growing hemp for fibre production only is not currently viable in Ireland. It noted that scaling up a crop fibre industry would depend on numerous factors such as stable markets, significant capital investment to increase processing capacity, and collaboration with all stakeholders along the supply chain.

Read the full Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine report here.


“In Europe, no CBD food product is allowed on the market unless authorised by EFSA. In the UK, brands applying or reapplying after 31 March 2021 should not put their products on the market until they are authorised. Those on the market and with their dossier sent in before this date can remain on the market unless removed from the list.”

Irish CBD retailers benefit somewhat from the fact that the FSAI does not consider cold-pressed CBD oil as being a novel food. This is not to say that cold-pressed CBD oil does not face other issues, namely the presence of THC which cannot be removed without the product becoming ‘novel’.


“Both European and UK regulators are still waiting for the industry to provide proof that ingestible, plant-based CBD is safe. And, with this beginning to look increasingly difficult, there is a growing possibility consumer-focused CBD will be channelled down a medical pathway.”

An insightful overview of the path that the European, and potentially global, CBD industry is taking and Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ involvement in directing it that way.


Ireland’s medical cannabis access programme (MCAP) is often criticised for, among other things, being too slow in its roll out.

Some would lead you to believe that Ireland is an outlier in Europe in its overly conservative approach in its rolling out of the MCAP. The reality is, that when it comes to cannabis policy, Ireland’s is mostly in line with what is seen across the EU.


Seen by many as Europe’s cannabis capital, on paper Spain is behind some other EU states when it comes to cannabis policy. While Ireland’s medical cannabis access programme has been criticised for being too restrictive in the conditions that may be treated under it, as well as its slow roll out and update, Spain is yet to roll out its official medical cannabis programme.

In practice, cannabis is widely available in Spain through its not-for-profit social clubs. Following the recent Oireachtas Justice Committee's drug policy report, cannabis policy reformists in Ireland have cause to be optimistic that the next few years will at least see such clubs permitted in Ireland.


©2023 by The Cannabis Review

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