Is cannabis cultivation still a crime in Europe?

legal hemp home cultivation

Cannabis CBD and marijuana cultivation in Europe in 2020.

Even if you don’t often learn about the legality of CBD cannabis and conventional marijuana with a high THC level, you may have heard about the latest decision of the Court of Cassation on the cultivation of cannabis plants. Although cannabis cultivation is still a crime in Europe and the UK, this decision is likely to give a different turn in the future.

The reason is simple: according to the judgment issued on 19 December 2019, the cultivation of a small number of cannabis plants for personal use is not criminally punishable.

Although the full text has not yet been tabled, and therefore it is not yet possible to consult it, this is a historic decision. The judgments of the decisions of the Court of Cassation are the ultimate expression of jurisprudence in the field of procedural legitimacy.

Court of Cassation

But how was this decision made? Does this nullify many other judgments made in the past? Let’s start by clarifying when it comes to growing legal marijuana at home and when it is a criminal offence.

When growing marijuana is not a criminal offence?

First of all, let us be clear that in general, cultivating narcotics (but also possessing, producing, selling, distributing, etc.) is a criminal offence. Those who violate the law of 9 October 1990, #309, or the text on drugs, are liable to a prison sentence of 6 to 20 years, and a fine ranging from 26,000 to 260,000 euros.

The court may decide to reduce this sentence if, given the circumstances, the conduct, or the means of action, the offence is minor. In this case, the penalty consists of between 6 months and 4 years’ imprisonment ,and the payment of a sentence ranging from 1,032 to 10,329 euros.

Cultivating cannabis or other drugs is also a criminal offence. Still, some Supreme Court decisions, including the 12198 filed on 19 March 2019, exclude criminal sanction, if the absolute harmlessness of production could be proven.

Expressly, the cultivation of marijuana flowers, and other drugs, is accepted when the increase in the availability of the substance is irrelevant, and if there is no danger of the substance involved.

The decisions of the Court of Cassation confirmed this orientation. Here is the only known passage (for now) of the latest resolution on cannabis cultivation:

“The small amount of domestic cultivation should be considered excluded from the criminal penalty.” Thus, with evidence that the crop is intended exclusively for the personal use of the producer can be taken into account.

So, what is the meaning of this judgment? Is it legal to grow cannabis with THC?

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Is marijuana growing legal?

marijuana cbd at home

The cultivation of cannabis, strong in THC, remains illegal in Europe because the law on narcotics has not changed.

However, the recent decision decriminalizes the cultivation of a small number of seeds, if they appear to be intended exclusively for personal use and not for distribution. For example, the case of the judgment concerned the cultivation of two cannabis plants (one with 18, the other with 20 branches).

It does not mean that it is possible to grow marijuana legally, but that those caught will only be punished administratively and not by imprisonment. It is the case when you have up to 500 mg of marijuana or hashish, held for personal use and not to treat.

What can we say about growing legal marijuana?

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Is it possible to grow CBD cannabis at home?

The authorities have expressed their views on growing marijuana high in THC, while legal cannabis inflorescences are rich in CBD (with THC less than 0.2%).

CBD cannabis cannot be grown at home, as only farms can prove that they produce this cannabis under Law 242/2016. This law authorizes the cultivation of cannabis with THC for the following reasons:

  • Cultivation and transformation.
  • Encourage the use and final consumption of semi-finished hemp products from local priority supply chains.
  • Development of integrated territorial supply chains that improve research results and pursue local integration and real economic and environmental sustainability.
  • Production of innovative foods, cosmetics, biodegradable and semi-finished raw materials for industries in different sectors.
  • Bio-engineering, land reclamation, educational and research activities.

The “personal” cultivation is not mentioned, but farms wishing to grow CBD cannabis can take advantage of the provisions put in place by law (with a support of 700,000 euros per year).

In all cases, it is necessary to keep the seed labels for at least 1 year after purchase. The authorities can control the plantation only in the presence of the grower, and request the seizure of the plants only if the THC they contain exceeds 0.2% (a special analysis can check that).

But if the seeds used are those accepted by European law, therefore compliant and certified, then the farmer has no responsibility if the THC of cannabis flowers exceeds the legal limits.