Can cannabis buds be considered narcotics when containing THC levels lower than 0.2%? Some information sheets have been provided by police and also published in the local press maintaining this assumption, although according to Casa Paraula law firm and based on several court decisions, this wouldn’t be the case.
Casa Paraula in particular points out that several judgments by the Spanish Supreme Court have already established that for a drug to be considered a narcotic drug or controlled substance, the narcotic effect of the main active principle contained in the substance has to correlate to its concentration and also needs to negatively affect the user’s health.
This is precisely the first of the many fabrications that the above-mentioned law firm is denouncing, which appeared in different circulars issued in recent months by both the national and regional administrations, although these are not the only institutions doing so.
During February and April, the regional government of Catalonia, the Generalitat and that of Andalusia, the Junta, issued two circulars to warn about the illegality of cultivation of industrial hemp to produce flowers, since the only legal manufacturing allowed, and only using varieties with a THC content under 0.2 %, is for seeds and fiber production. "This is false," they claim from Casa Paraula. The law firm explains that Law 17/1967 allows the cultivation of cannabis for industrial purposes, without limiting the activity to the textile or food sector. "The administration cannot apply a more restrictive criterion than that imposed by law when referring the term “industrial”, which is generic and broad," explained the lawyers’ office on their website. "In order to apply the restrictive criterion included in the triptych, the existing law should first be modified" is added.
Furthermore, they explain that 2014/40 / EU Directive allows the use of flowers for smoking and that a November 2020 ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union rejects the application of national regulations on narcotic drugs when limiting or prohibiting products derived from cannabis. The European ruling established that CBD can be freely marketed since it cannot be classified as a narcotic, even if derived from cannabis. "The same reasoning that he makes about the smoked consumption of CBD extracted from cannabis is applicable to the cannabis flower, which lacks an active narcotic principle, and, therefore, could not be prohibited by criminal or public health criteria," they maintain at Casa Paraula.
Another of the statements included on the brochures about cannabis indicates that cultivation of varieties not included in the commercial catalogues issued by the European Union is illegal and can be regarded as a criminal offense. "This is also false" the law firm keeps arguing. In addition, this would affect the fact that large pharmaceutical companies are being granted licenses to cultivate psychoactive cannabis strains that are indeed not included in the European Common Catalogue of plant species. “The cultivation of only certified varieties is a requirement to access to government subsidies. Furthermore, the referred seed and plant law restricts and sanctions only the sale of unregistered seeds or plants, not the acquisition or sowing of these” added the law analysts.
The last of the repeated falsehoods contained on these informational triptychs and denounced by Casa Paraula is that it is only legal to grow cannabis plants with a THC concentration lower than 0.2%. The law firm affirms that there is no regulation in Spain that establishes this THC concentration limit. Again, this limit would only apply, as they explain, when it comes to qualifying for subsidies for textile hemp and government aids for agriculture.
"Spain does not have a regulation minimally updated to control current hemp production and, especially, when it comes to cultivation of hemp flowers with low THC content," as Casa Paraula complains. “Lately, various administrations and State security bodies, instead of promoting the adoption of regulations and standards that provide a framework of legal security that promotes the industrial, economic and social development of the country, have dedicated their efforts to the preparation of informative leaflets, internal notes and seizures of flowers and complaints without legal basis to obstruct, intimidate and prevent the development of legal industrial activities” he concluded.