LECTURE: Cannabis and Cannabinoids in foods - legal situation in Austria
Mag. Jakob Hütthaler-Brandauer is a lawyer based in Vienna, working for the law office Hütthaler-Brandauer since 2010. Among others, Life Sciences is one of the key topics of the law office, comprising in particular food law, food supplement law, cosmetics law, pharmaceutical legislation and medical products law. He consults and represents national and international corporations, holds various lectures and publishes regularly on this topics.
Cannabis sativa L has a long tradition in food production. It was and is essential that the THC content is below 0.3%, otherwise the food falls into the drug law and may not be sold as food. The use of hemp in food is therefore neither new nor problematic - even taking into account the THC content. However, a new trend is the targeted onset of a non-psychotropic cannabinoid, namely cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, a cannabinoid that has been reported to have many beneficial effects on health, is present in commercial hemp in very low concentrations. However, in order to market food (often food supplements) with a higher cannabidiol content, a cannabidiol extract is used. In December 2018, a decree issued by the Federal Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection caused a stir by announcing the ministry's view that food containing cannabinoid-extracts are covered by the Novel Food Regulation 2015/2283 / EU, and therefore may not be placed on the market as they are lacking authorization. High concentrations of CBD in dietary supplements or other foods are therefore in the view of the Federal Ministry inadmissible, as this is a Novel Food without appropriate approval. The Novel Food Regulation is extremely complicated and not easily understood in the specific provision of Article 3 (2) (a) sublit IV. Therefore, numerous novel food-specific questions arise not only with the cannabidiol extract but also with other plant extracts.
What is the key to assessing whether a particular plant extract is Novel Food or not? What evidence for the use of hemp extracts in food before the crucial date of 15.5.1997 exists, and can they deny the Novel Food property of all cannabidiol extracts? These and other questions should be discussed in the lecture, even if there is not a clear answer for everything.
Lecture in German.