All, CBD Business

Is CBD Oil Legal In Europe In 2021?

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Where In Europe Is CBD Oil Legal?

If you are thinking about shipping CBD internationally, you have a good plan in mind. The CBD market has risen in popularity not only around the U.S. but throughout the world. What’s more, current predictions show the best is yet to come. While the global cannabidiol market size was valued at USD $2.19 billion in 2019, the European CBD market alone is expected to reach €1.4 billion by 2023. But is CBD oil legal everywhere in Europe? And if yes, do laws vary from country to country?

In the past few years, the “CBD buzz” has taken the world by surprise, showing excellent prospects for economic growth worldwide. With the growing popularity of CBD, online selling has made it easy for retailers to access markets that would’ve been otherwise difficult to reach. 

However, the incredible amount of uncertainty surrounding the legality of CBD has crippled the initiatives of many entrepreneurs.

CBD is legal in most countries in Europe and around the world. However, because CBD is an extract from the cannabis plant, which is illegal in many countries, CBD’s legality is steeped in lots of regulation and legislation. This means that not everybody can grow, produce, or purchase cannabinoid-derived products. But unlike the U.S. CBD market, where competition is fierce, Europe still allows U.S. CBD brands to enter and grow their businesses in a less competitive environment. 

If you’re not sure where you can safely ship and commercialize CBD and what defines the product as legal and of good quality, read on to learn all about the complex legal status of CBD products in Europe and discover how to ship your merchandise there.

cbd business opportunities in europe

CBD Status In Europe

If you are interested in discovering whether CBD oil is legal or not in Europe, you should know that according to EU law, hemp growing and selling is permitted if the THC content is less than 0.2%

Upon later discussions, the European Parliament approved the increased limit for THC in all hemp-derived CBD products from 0.2% to 0.3%. The proposal is coming into effect this year.

The complexity of CBD in the European markets is mainly caused by the number of states that make up the Old Continent. With 44 countries, out of which only 28 are EU member states and 24 different languages, having a standard set of laws and regulations is almost impossible. 

In the absence of common legislation, the EU Member States may adopt national measures, subject to the principle of free movement of goods.

In May 2019, Bulgaria became the first EU country to authorize a company to freely sell CBD products, followed shortly by most other nations. CBD can be consumed everywhere in the European Union member states, with a few exceptions. But while products containing 0.2% THC or less are legal in most European countries, products containing any THC trace are banned from commercialization in countries such as France, Sweden, Norway, and the UK. 

Those wishing to have a detailed overview of what the current situation looks like when it comes to the legality of CBD can check out Europe’s CBD Legal status in 2020. Even though most European countries have legalized CBD somehow, there are still places where CBD is still illegal. Among them:

  • Georgia
  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Lithuania
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Slovakia

As seen above, with a few exceptions, Europe is currently one of the most liberal parts of the world regarding the use and legalization of cannabis, industrial hemp or marijuana. In fact, after North America, Europe is the most prominent CBD market worldwide.

How To Sell CBD Products In Europe

Although in Europe, the CBD industry is still in its early days, the growth opportunities are too good not to be considered by entrepreneurs. 

Other than that, consumer interest in CBD-derived products has risen rapidly and continues to grow fast. So now that you know for sure that CBD oil is legal in most countries in Europe, you can start preparing your business expansion plan. 

Firstly, to stay away from legal troubles, you need to find a trustworthy producer. Choose a reputable CBD wholesale program that excels both in terms of product quality and transparency of practices. 

Company transparency is crucial in the CBD wholesale space, especially when planning to work in different countries, each with its local regulations. Some wholesalers are vague about where their hemp is sourced or how their CBD is extracted. Further to this, they don’t provide a certificate of analysis (CoA) or third-party independent lab test results. This should be a good indication that their CBD supply is not worthy of purchasing.

When shipping your products, ensure they are correctly packaged. Cover them with bubble wrap and place them in a leak-proof zip lock bag. Also, fill the boxes with cushioning materials and seal them with adhesive tape. Tape in the corners and edges to prevent tearing during transport.

Last but not least, when entering the European market, check each country’s set of rules and regulations regarding the importation, manufacturing, testing requirements, and distribution. Finally, ensure that your product labels comply with varying labeling and marketing laws.

Once they discover that CBD oil is legal in Europe, many sellers are curious to know what cannabidiol-derived products are most commonly bought on the European market. 

So here are a few examples:

The Best Markets For CBD In Europe

With CBD oil legal in most parts of Europe, the EU has now turned into an active hemp market, with production in many member nations. 

Hemp’s cultivation in Europe began in the 1990s in the UK and soon after spread to Germany, the Netherlands, and the rest of the continent. The most significant part of the production is France, which accounts for almost 50% of Europe’s total manufacturing. 

Countries such as the Netherlands, Lithuania, or Romania, situated in the Baltic, and the eastern part of the continent, has also shown impressive production growth.

The biggest consumer markets for CBD in Europe are Germany and the UK, with reports showing that 8-11% of U.K. adults have tried CBD. That makes for an impressive number of 4-6 million people. With the UK and Germany occupying the first two places, and Austria and Switzerland following closely, several other countries such as Poland, Bulgaria, Netherlands, and Luxembourg show remarkable growth.

Final Thoughts On The Legality Of CBD Oil In Europe

The hemp-derived CBD market in Europe represents, at the moment, a significant share of the world’s entire cannabinoid space. In most countries where CBD is legal, the demand is increasing day after day. 

This well-developed CBD market, where you can buy thousands of CBD products in stores and online, represents a great opportunity for all U.S. entrepreneurs looking to expand their business across continents. 

In a nutshell:

  • The CBD market size in Europe covers 31% of the global market share and is currently measured at €450 million.
  • CBD oil, and any CBD derived products containing 0.2% THC or less, are legal in most European countries
  • Luxembourg and Australia allow CBD products with 0.3% THC content
  • Switzerland allows CBD products with a THC content of 1% or less
  • The main challenges when selling CBD in Europe are caused by EU‘s Regulation 2015/2283, which classifies CBD as a novel food 
  • Each country in Europe has its own set of rules of regulations, which should be consulted before selling CBD
  • CBD laws in Europe are constantly changing, and many countries are adopting restrictive rules.

We hope that we offered you enough information regarding the legality of CBD oil in Europe. For more helpful advice, have a look at some of our other posts: