Is CBD Legal in Belgium?
Belgium might be called the heart of the European Union, as the most important decision-makers of the EU are in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Naturally, this means that Belgium is among the first ones to implement the EU regulations, whatever the subject may be. Obviously, this is also true when it comes to CBD regulation.
CBD products are a fast-growing industry and as it often happens, regulation cannot quite keep up with the development of new products. The change in the CBD industry is so rapid that even when regulation tries to catch up it is often too late, or out of date and it can cause more harm than good. Such is, unfortunately, the case of Belgium and, perhaps, of the whole European Union. We, at Essentia Pura, believe that regulation of CBD products is needed, as it offers certainty to businesses and protects consumers from exaggerated health claims.
In this article, we will take a closer look at how Belgium regulates the CBD industry. By the end of this article you will know:
- What is CBD?
- What is the regulation of cannabis in Belgium?
- How is CBD regulated in Belgium?
- Where can you buy CBD in Belgium?
- Can you legally sell CBD in Belgium?
CBD in Belgium
To start the article properly, we have to explain what CBD is.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of 113 known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. So far we know that it is a part of the cannabis plant. The second important thing to learn is that CBD is associated with all kinds of possible health benefits.
We are sure all of you are at least somewhat familiar with cannabis, but we wish to explain a couple of things about the plant anyway. For starters, there are at least two major types of cannabis, and they differ significantly in their effects, as well as by their treatment in Belgian law.
Cannabis in Belgium
Marijuana is without a doubt the most well-known cannabis plant. It is usually included in the drug policy of a country, which is due to THC. THC is another part of cannabis, this one is responsible for the intoxicating feeling you get from using cannabis. As it affects your psychomotor functions, governments usually restrict its use and treat drug use as a public health issue.
Legally speaking, cannabis is not legal for personal use in Belgium although recreational cannabis use is decriminalized. Possession of cannabis products is tolerated if you have less than 3 grams of cannabis in your personal possession. This means that without any aggravating circumstances you should only be fined and not persecuted.
Furthermore, cannabis cultivation for personal use is also tolerated. This means that you can grow one (female) cannabis plant. Since the reform of the laws in Belgium in 2003, the cultivation of cannabis surged. It is now estimated that most of the cannabis consumed in Belgium is homegrown.
However, growing larger amounts of cannabis is illegal in Belgium and you can have major troubles because of it. Likewise, selling or distributing cannabis is considered illegal in Belgium.
As we mentioned cannabis consumption is growing in Belgium. Some of the interesting phenomena in the cannabis community are the so-called cannabis social clubs. These social clubs cultivate and harvest cannabis together. So far they were a couple of legal proceedings against these cannabis social clubs, but for the last couple of years, these cannabis social clubs are tolerated and operate without police interference.
As more and more scientists reach the conclusion that cannabis might come in handy for medical use, it is only natural to ask if medicinal cannabis is legal in Belgium?
According to a royal decree the prescription drug Sativex can be used to treat patients with multiple sclerosis. Other drugs based on cannabis are still not used in Belgium. Nonetheless, more and more people are calling for medicinal cannabis to be legalized, so we are hopeful that medical cannabis has a bright future in Belgium.
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Hemp in Belgium
Hemp plants are the second type of cannabis in Belgium. The main difference between hemp flowers and marijuana is its THC content. Hemp does not contain THC, or if it does, THC content in hemp is insignificant. Essentially this means that if you use hemp you retain all the benefits of CBD while your psychomotor functions are not affected.
Cultivation of hemp plants is legal in Belgium, even for commercial purposes. We stress, however, that hemp must contain less than 0.2 % THC and that you must be granted a special permit by the Belgian government before you start plowing your fields.
CBD Regulation in Belgium
All of this might be quite confusing. So what is the legal status of CBD in Belgium? Well like most use of cannabis in Belgium, CBD products are in a grey area.
The current state of affairs is such that CBD oil for external personal use is legally sold in pharmacies around Belgium. On the other hand, CBD oil cannot be sold as a medicinal cannabis product or as a food supplement according to the laws in Belgium. This is due to the infamous Novel foods regulation, CBD food supplements are considered to be novel foods and require authorization before they can enter the market. The Belgian authorities have not granted such authorization. This practice meant that a lot of CBD stores around Belgium were raided by the police who then confiscated their products for lab analysis. The analysis of the products can take months, causing a lot of frustration and disruption to the business model of CBD entrepreneurs.
Where does this leave the Belgian CBD oil industry and the whole Belgian cannabis industry?
Unfortunately, not in a good place. Belgium had once been considered a great country for the CBD industry, akin to Switzerland. Nowadays, however, other European countries are quickly developing its cannabis market, while Belgians deal with new drug law that stifles innovation and restricts the use of cannabis.
But just because CBD products cannot be labeled as food supplements does not mean that CBD is not legal in Belgium. Hemp-produced CBD products are permitted, as we said above CBD for external use is available, on top of that you can buy dried hemp that is also rich in CBD and you can actually smoke them.
So things are not as bad as they look at first glance.
Buying CBD Oil in Belgium
You can buy CBD oil for external use in pharmacies all across Belgium. In addition to that, you can get Sativex if you have a prescription from your doctor, but other than that buying CBD oil products in Belgium is difficult. You can however buy dried cannabis hemp.
Thanks to the freedom of movement of goods you can now import CBD oil and similar products from other European countries. As CBD is not considered part of narcotic substances according to the EU law any restriction on cross-border sales is problematic. This means you have an incredible variety of online stores you can choose from. Nonetheless, we suggest you are careful and read the review of the store and avoid any stores that promise you over the top things. Furthermore, we suggest you search for products without THC or with less than 0.2 % THC, as anything more than that can land you in trouble with the authorities.
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Selling CBD Oil in Belgium
If you want to sell CBD oil in your own store you have to be careful not to label your products as food supplements. If you do you can be subject to a police raid and your products can be confiscated. Even without labeling your products as food supplements, lots of business report issues with the authorities.
In any case, we recommend that you structure your business around clear, consumer-friendly information about CBD oil that is in line with scientific research. We recommend that you thoroughly examine your supplier beforehand. Focus on whether they follow all essential cannabis laws so that you avoid any legal troubles. You should only work with accredited buyers and dealers of CBD products. Your supplier should show you that CBD oil product contains less than 0.2% of THC and is extracted from hemp. Check that they follow other legal guidelines issued by the authorities.
If you are looking for a partner to supply your CBD-related shop, Essentia Pura is a Slovenian company that offers the bulk sale of CBD extracts. We take pride in ensuring strict compliance with the law. We are a trusted wholesale partner for your CBD-oriented company with plenty of experience. If you have any questions regarding the bulk sale of CBD oil and other CBD products, as well as any legal questions about cannabis regulations in Belgium, do not hesitate to contact us. Our staff will get back to you as soon as possible.
So is CBD legal in Belgium?
The legal situation of CBD is complex, it is currently in a grey area. Let us quickly go through the most important points:
- CBD is a component of cannabis.
- Cannabis is legal for personal use and is growing in popularity.
- Cannabis social clubs are a common thing in Belgium
- Hemp can be grown for commercial purposes.
- Medical cannabis is legal, although it can be accessed only if you have a prescription and is only used to treat multiple sclerosis.
- CBD oil is legal only for external use and cannot be sold as food supplements.
- CBD products sold in pharmacies/medical marijuana must get approval by a federal agency for medicines and health products (famhp).1
- CBD products with THC below 0.2% and intended to be sold as food additives are regulated by federal public service, health, food chain safety, and the environment. This agency, though, does not consider CBD products with low THC as narcotics. Still, it classifies them as “dangerous plants” products per the Royal Decree of 31 August 2021, thus disallowing CBD foodstuff to market.2
- However, hemp seeds and products with THC within permissible amounts are allowed for sale, but they must be supported by a certificate of analysis.2 This means that one can sell CBD products nationwide with specific documents. However, these products must meet specific criteria.
- According to a Royal decree, you can buy and use dried hemp flowers.
Hopefully, this answered most of your questions regarding Belgian cannabis law, if you have any other questions, please contact us.
If you are interested in the legal status of CBD in other countries you can read our articles about: