CBD legality is a subject for discussion all over the world, and there are few places that it is more confusing than in Ireland. As always, we are here to try and make the answer as simple as possible for you, so, is CBD legal in Ireland?
The answer is, unfortunately, not simple, but we will break down what we can here to help you understand as much as it is possible to do so!
CBD in Northern Ireland
Let’s start with the simple bit. The majority of this article will focus on the Republic of Ireland, but let’s take a quick stop in the North first.
CBD is legal in Northern Ireland under EU law, meaning products are legal as long as they are derived from EU approved industrial hemp plants that contain no more than 0.2% THC (the psychoactive molecule in marijuana that gets you high. 0.2% is not enough to get you high, just to clarify).
CBD Legality in Ireland
In Ireland, CBD is not illegal, at least it is not stated as illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act, which classifies THC as illegal.
However, it is also not necessarily legal, and is certainly not classified as a medicine by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), something that is also true in most other countries.
Up until recently, the general consensus in Ireland was that CBD was legal, as long as it followed the same rules stated above in EU law.
However, in May of 2019, things got a little confusing, to say the least!
The Garda Crackdown
In May 2019, several shops and cafes that sold CBD products were raided and saw their products confiscated and owners arrested, with the threat of a hefty prison sentence attached.
At least four shops were raided, and in one case, over €10,000 worth of CBD products were confiscated. This is a wholesale value, the Garda could consider the products worth substantially more than that, which could bring a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
It is here that we must return to the Misuse of Drugs Act, a 1977 law banning many recreationally used drugs, including THC.
The issue is that THC is outlawed under the act, which contradicts EU law, which as mentioned above, states that trace amounts of THC are legal in CBD products.
It seems to be this 0.2% THC content that has led authorities in Ireland to deem CBD products to be illegal.
The Department of Health said that they would attempt to find a way to ensure that CBD is permitted explicitly under Irish law, so such events do not occur again.
EU Law or Irish Law?
This issue puts Ireland in something of a political quagmire, as EU law states one thing, and Irish law states another, leading to confusion which, as with the cases above, has led to some serious consequences.
So, the big question is, which law takes precedence? The answer to that is far from simple, and it may take a while to untangle the legal cobwebs which are currently wrapped around CBD, and its sale and use in Ireland.
What Happens Next?
We cannot be sure what will happen next in terms of CBD law in Ireland. However, there is one option that seems more likely.
As in much of the rest of Europe, and indeed the world, CBD has been the centrepiece of a revolution in Ireland in recent years, and there is a lot of money to be made, not only by businesses but also by the Government on tax from those companies.
To this end, it seems likely that the Department of Health will follow through on their ambition to bring Irish law in line with EU law, and ensure that CBD products are legal to be bought and sold in Ireland, as long as they align with EU guidelines.
What that means to those who have already been arrested for selling CBD products in Ireland, however, is not as clear cut.
Whether these sellers will be prosecuted under current law, or their convictions will be taken away if and when the law changes, remains to be seen.
Either way, what we advise at this point is to be very careful when it comes to CBD in Ireland. Until it becomes clear that the use of CBD products, and especially the sale of such products is legal in Ireland, it is best to tred with care.
Of course, as soon as there is any news on this issue, we will be sure to immediately let you know.
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