Hemp market in Romania
Hemp in Romania has a very long history and its cultivation was once an important part of the country’s economy. Today, there is a gradual revival of the hemp industry in that country, but it is still a long way from the levels of the 1980s. The market for CBD products is slowly growing, and the number of hemp crops is also increasing every year, but regulations still limit the full development of this branch. What is the situation related to the hemp market in Romania? Can we legally purchase CBD and use medical marijuana for treatment purposes there? Read on to learn the answer to these questions.
It can be said that the history of the use of hemp in the lands of present-day Romania goes all the way back to the period around the year 500 BC. At the time, the site was inhabited by the Dacians, a people descended from Dacia, one of the provinces of ancient Rome. In 480 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus himself noted that the people used hemp to heal wounds and relieve pain. The Dacian women, in turn, were skilled at making clothes from hemp, while Kapnobatai, their priests, used hemp in their rituals. They were called “wanderers among the clouds”. Interestingly, in some regions of Romania, the traditional ways of growing and processing hemp at home have remained unchanged to this day. In some parts of Moldova and Romania, a traditional dessert made of hemp called Turte moldovenești cu julfă, which is a type of pastry consisting of pancakes layered with hemp seed stuffing, has been served up to the present day. Apart from its rich history of growing and using hemp, does Romania have much to do with the plant?
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Is it allowed to grow hemp in Romania?
It is worth mentioning that until 1989, Romania was the largest producer of hemp in Europe with a cultivated area of 45,000 hectares, which at the time accounted for about 56-70% of all European production. After this period, the branch was significantly restricted by legal regulations. In 2018, the area under hemp cultivation in Romania reached 1,454 hectares, and back then significant restrictions were placed on cultivation. It is currently regulated by law, meaning it is illegal if you do not have a special permit. A farmer who wants to plant a variety of this plant must first obtain a license from the local unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It can only be obtained by those who want to cultivate it for industrial or research purposes. After receiving the appropriate permit, the farmer must provide a sample of their hemp crop to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to determine the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Only crops where THC in the raw material does not exceed 0.2% are allowed. Therefore, the varieties allowed in Romania are those included in the list of plant varieties authorized for cultivation. That list includes varieties developed by two local research stations in Lovrin and Secuieni.
The legal status of CBD in Romania
As with the cultivation of hemp, its processing is also permitted only on the condition that the final products do not exceed the 0.2% THC limit. The market for CBD products in Romania is not strictly regulated. CBD as a substance from hemp has not been restricted, although not every CBD product can be legally possessed there. Currently, only CBD products such as oils, CBD capsules, beverages, soaps or creams that do not contain THC are approved for marketing and available as recreational products. Food products such as inflorescences or teas are not available due to the THC content, despite the fact that these are trace amounts. Tetrahydrocannabinol is a controlled substance under Romanian law and it is prohibited in products intended for consumption in any amount.
CBD extracts that contain THC – but no more than 0.2% – are qualified as drugs and are available only on prescription. From the perspective of Romanian law, CBD full spectrum oils (containing THC) imported from Poland or any other country, are illegal. Only products broad spectrum that do not contain any THC whatsoever can be legally imported into Romanian territory.
THC (marijuana) in Romania
Possession, use and manufacture of cannabis in Romania are prohibited by law. THC is classified as a high-risk drug here and is banned. Romanian law also does not allow the sale, marketing and distribution of general hemp products (e.g., oil, flour or dietary supplements) containing small amounts of THC, regardless of concentration. In January 2021, Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism clarified that the maximum permitted THC content (0.2%) is determined in the cannabis plant at the cultivation stage, not in the final product.
Thus, not only a person carrying cannabis will expose themselves to conflict with Romanian law, but also a person who possesses CBD oil, even that permitted for marketing in another European country, if it contains trace amounts of THC.
The legal status of medical marijuana in Romania
As we mentioned in an earlier part of the article – in Romania, there is practically no possibility of treatment using medical marijuana as we know it in Poland. Romanian law defines medical hemp as CBD products containing any amount of THC, but no more than 0.2%. In Poland and many European countries, such products are widely available and there is no penalty for possessing them. In the case of Romania, in order to get full spectrum CBD oil, that is oil containing THC, you need to go to a doctor and get a prescription for a specific condition. Only then, can you purchase the drug at the pharmacy.
A new bill on medical marijuana is in the pipeline. It assumes the possibility of treatment with medicines containing cannabis, but again with a limitation – the level of THC in medical preparations could not be higher than 20%. As of March 2021, the bill is being processed by the Romanian Chamber of Deputies and has yet to receive favorable opinions from various Committees.