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the law in Hungary - Marijuana (THC) and CBD

Marijuana (THC) and CBD - the law in Hungary

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The liberalization of drug laws toward greater availability of hemp products is an international trend that has been going on for many years. Today we’ll take a look at how the cannabis situation stands under Hungarian law. Hungary is one of the countries that, despite the softening stance towards hemp by many European countries, still persists with a rather restrictive policy towards the plant. If you are a regular cannabis consumer and intend to visit Hungary, be sure to familiarize yourself with the regulations there to avoid problems with the law.

What kind of hemp policy prevails in Hungary?

The Hungarian authorities’ approach to hemp is quite restrictive. Starting with the stance on marijuana, which explicitly makes the sale, purchase and possession illegal, also the approach to CBD and fiber hemp is not the same as in other European countries. In addition, violations of the law on issues of possession of hemp products carry prison sentences of many years. Hungary has also not allowed its citizens to legally treat themselves with medical marijuana, which shows how inhumane the country’s hemp laws are. The authorities’ approach to the hemp plant is extremely restrictive despite the fact that the hemp industry has existed in Hungary for centuries, and hemp cultivation used to be common in the country. Under the Soviet Union, however, this was lost.

Hungary, on the other hand, has an impressive amount of hemp fields – a lot of effort has been put into hemp cultivation and research since 1991. Hungarian scientist Dr. Ivan Bucsa of the GATE Agricultural Research Institute has even developed several varieties of fiber hemp that have entered the country’s certified seeds. They feature high-quality raw material for industry and stable genetics when it comes to THC levels. Dr. Bucsa also created the first commercial strain of ornamental hemp, called Panorama.

CBD in Hungary – legal or illegal?

Unlike THC, CBD in Hungary is not considered a controlled substance, but its legality has not been legally confirmed. The government has not taken a definitive stance on CBD, so whether the food items are legal or not depends on the interpretation of the law. According to Hungarian legislation, hemp cultivation is legal, but only if the raw material from the plant contains less than 0.2% THC. As a result, dietary supplements and food items containing CBD are allowed when they are derived from certified hemp seeds and contain only trace amounts of THC.

Interestingly – Hungarian authorities do not allow the production of CBD oil in the country. While it may be legal to grow hemp in Hungary, it may not be legal to process and sell it in the form of CBD oil. The legislature has distinguished between recreational and medical CBD products. The latter can only be imported with the approval of OGYÉI (National Institute of Pharmacy and Nutrition) for individual patient use. In the case of CBD dietary supplements, they are subject to community authorization if they qualify as novel foods. In other cases, the product must obtain marketing approval from the National Food Chain Safety Authority (NÉBIH).

THC and medical marijuana – Hungary

According to the country’s Criminal Code, in Hungary possession of marijuana for personal use or trafficking is illegal, while the penalties for breaking the law are no different from other intoxicating substances or even heavy drugs. Even consumption of cannabis is a serious offense. A person caught smoking a joint can receive a sentence of one to five years in prison. In cases where the amount of cannabis is considered “small” – up to six grams – the punishment can be limited to two years. For public officials, the penalty can be extended to six to 10 years. The tightening of laws on marijuana possession and consumption came into effect quite recently, in 2013. After this change, in cases where an offender is caught with a “particularly large amount of cannabis,” the prison sentence can increase to as much as 15 years.

In addition, Hungary is one of the few countries in Europe that does not have a medical marijuana treatment program. There are special licenses to possess cannabis for industrial and research purposes for pharmaceutical research and development or the therapeutic use of hemp-based medicinal products. Currently, there is no medicinal product containing THC-rich cannabis as an active ingredient that is approved for marketing in Hungarian pharmacies. In exceptional situations, OGYÉI may authorize the importation of a cannabis medicinal product authorized in another country, provided there is a medical justification. In other cases, the production, purchase or import of cannabis containing THC for medical purposes is strictly prohibited by the Hungarian Criminal Code. Those who break the law are subject to imprisonment for up to 20 years.

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