In February, the European Commission (EC) reclassified CBD as a “Novel Food” meaning the EC considered it a food “not consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997.”
“As the EU continues to navigate its stance on CBD, we are proud to continue paving the way for the acceptance of CBD in Bulgaria just as we have in many other countries around the world,” said Kannaway CEO Blake Schroeder.
According to the documents, authorities class the products sold by Kannaway, a subsidiary of Medical Marijuana Inc, as “traditional foods” specifically food supplements, therefore bypassing the EU’s current classification of CBD products.
Media reports state Kannaway’s products “comply fully with relevant requirements of the Law on Foodstuffs of Republic of Bulgaria and of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 of European Parliament and the Council on the hygiene of foodstuffs”.
“With this authorisation, we hope that we can establish our company as pioneers in Bulgaria’s CBD industry and leaders in CBD education throughout Europe.”
If confirmed, the decision by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, and the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency, marks the first time a country within the EU has taken such a decision.
The country’s food authorities issued a Free Certificate of Sale to the Californian-based firm last month effectively allowing the export of Kannaway’s imported goods sold in Bulgaria’s open markets.
Bulgarian legislation on the legal cultivation of cannabis makes for interesting reading. Some readers might feel that the regulations and definitions are the most hilarious things ever, and this article aims to shed light on why this may be, while running you through some legalities.
However, THC and its isomers, delta 6a (10a), delta 6a (7), delta 7, delta 8, delta 10, delta 9 (11) (and their stereochemical variants) are classified and listed as narcotic substances on the List of Plants and Substances Presenting a High Risk to Public Health Due to the Harmful Effects of the Abuse Thereof (the “List”) under the NSPCA. As the definition of a "narcotic substance" includes all substances on the List, products containing THC are classified as "preparations." Under the applicable Bulgarian law, preparations are subject to the same control measures as narcotic substances, and police and customs authorities are thus obliged to seize any preparations containing THC which are produced, processed, acquired, stored, used, imported, or designated for export and re-export or released on the local market.
… But It's Also a Crime.
Applications are considered by a committee, which must decide within three months of the submission whether to issue a permit (in the form of a licence) or to waive the application. The licence is valid for three years. The MAFF does not charge a fee for this procedure.
Bulgarian legislation allows farmers to process the hemp’s stem and seeds but prohibits them from processing the plant’s leaves or flowers.
Drug possession for personal use is considered a minor offence and is punishable by a fine. Offenders who are caught possessing small amounts of narcotics, such as a spliff of cannabis, 1 gram of cocaine or up to five ecstasy pills can receive a fine of up to BGN 1,000 (approximately €510).
Cannabis is also the most frequently seized drug in Bulgaria. Located on the Balkan drug trade route and representing the southeastern border of the EU, Bulgaria is regarded as a transit country for most types of illegal drugs.
The Legal Situation of Cannabis in Romania
In Bulgaria, cannabis is included in the highest risk category for illicit narcotics, along with cocaine, heroin or opium. This classification makes the possession of even small amounts of cannabis a costly, punishable offence.
Despite the legal controversy, hemp is considered legal in Bulgaria. Farmers who grow hemp are not arrested by law enforcement agents overnight. However, they have to get a special permit to be allowed to cultivate hemp.
In March 2018, Bulgaria adopted Ordinance No 1, which allows farmers to grow cannabis that has a THC concentration lower than 0.2 percent intended for fibre, feed, food, textiles and so on. Simply put, Bulgaria legalised the cultivation of hemp.
Doctors who prescribe narcotic substances that are not approved can be sanctioned with a fine or a prison sentence of up to five years, and they may also lose their rights to practice medicine. As you can imagine, Bulgarian doctors are not too eager to recommend cannabis treatments.