German hemp wholesaler sues city of Düsseldorf over CBD sales ban

Hempro International, a producer and wholesaler of hemp-derived food, clothing, accessories and cosmetics in western Germany, has filed suit against the city of Düsseldorf for its ban on the sale of hemp-derived CBD food products.

The city of Düsseldorf published an announcement in July in its official gazette prohibiting the sale of cannabidiol-containing foods anywhere in the city.

The ban, which applied to brick-and-mortar sales as well as mail order and online sales, took effect after consumer protection authorities in Düsseldorf’s state of North Rhine-Westphalia issued their own restrictions on CBD food products in a letter published in April.

According to Daniel Kruse, Hempro CEO and president of the European Industrial Hemp Association, Düsseldorf “clearly misinterpreted” the legal assessment of the state’s authorities, who banned the sale of products that contain cannabidiol as “CBD isolates” or “hemp extracts enriched with CBD” but not traditionally produced extracts from parts of the hemp plant.

The ban should not apply to plant-derived extracts that have a natural CBD concentration, Kruse said in a statement published on Monday.

“In the end, I had no choice but to file the lawsuit against my hometown,” Kruse said.

It was not immediately clear when the lawsuit was filed.

Düsseldorf’s CBD ban is one of several in Germany that suggest increased enforcement of the European Union’s guidelines for CBD-containing food products.

Hemp-derived CBD currently falls under the EU’s Novel Food Regulation, which stipulates that foods and ingredients not commonly consumed in the region prior to 1997 must be authorized – i.e., proven safe for human consumption – before they can be sold on the EU common market.

The European Commission has received more than 50 novel food authorization applications, but the evaluation process has been put on ice while the EU executive body considers whether hemp-derived CBD should be treated as a narcotic.