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Is CBD now prohibited in Cologne?

04/07/2020 2 MIN. READ Mirko Berger
04/07/2020 2 MIN. READ Mirko Berger

Did something happen?

At the end of June, the city of Cologne made CBD headlines: "Cologne prohibits CBD products" was the headline in "apotheke adhoc"; the Rheinische Post, one of the largest regional newspapers, at least still formulated the whole thing as a question and thus titled in a slightly more differentiated way: "CBD: Does the city of Cologne prohibit the sale of CBD?

To anticipate that right away: No, she doesn't. At least not as comprehensive as the headings might suggest. Regular readers of our articles may already be familiar with this, but when it comes to CBD and cannabis, legal questions in particular can rarely be answered easily and in a short form suitable for everyday use - as was the case this time.

What happened?

First of all: What exactly has the city of Cologne banned? Literally it says in the order: "The marketing of food containing cannabidiol (as "CBD isolates" or "CBD-enriched hemp extracts") is prohibited". To the knowledgeable reader (who may even have already rummaged through our article on the legal status of CBD in Germany) two things might be noticeable here at first sight:

Firstly, this arrangement deals exclusively with products that are offered as food. This also includes food supplements. All other CBD-containing products from other categories, such as cosmetics and diffuser pens, are not affected by this arrangement.

Secondly, the prohibition is further restricted by what is written in brackets: foods containing CBDs are therefore not all prohibited across the board, but only if they contain "CBD isolates" or "CBD-enriched hemp extracts".

And what does that mean now?

Okay, you can probably read it yourself. But just as important as what is written there is what is not written there. What is still not forbidden are those foods containing CBD, whose CBD content is e.g. produced by an extract containing CBD, if this extract was not additionally enriched with CBD, e.g. foods containing a natural hemp extract. (It should be clear by now that the critical THC upper limit of 0.2 % always applies, of course).

The statement of the European Industrial Hemp Association EIHA states: "Traditionally produced natural extracts from parts of the hemp plant are not covered by this sales ban. These natural extracts reflect the natural spectrum of the substances contained in the hemp plant [sic!] - including CBD".

The president of the association, Daniel Kruse, is in any case "very satisfied" with what he believes is a "correct and differentiated" assessment of the city of Cologne and is optimistic that this will lead to "appropriate legal certainty and legal clarity".

And now?

So - everything is not so wild. Basically, the city of Cologne is merely implementing existing EU law at regional level with its ordinance. This in itself need not have led to such confusion. However, the legal situation around CBD is already complicated enough that one can quickly come to hasty conclusions without a differentiated consideration.


And so headlines like "Cologne prohibits CBD products" arise, which may not be completely wrong, but they are not wrong either.

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