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Polish Supreme Court ruling against health officials, removing cannabis flowers as food

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Poland’s highest administrative court ruled against the country’s main public health agency and confirmed the legality of unprocessed products made from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant.

In doing so, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the head of the Public Health Inspectorate (GIS) in Poland had wrongly ordered the market capsules filled with ground cannabis tops supplied by the cannabis company Kombinat Konopny to be stopped in 2019.

“The ruling is likely to be the first case in Poland – or in Europe – where the court has not only thoughtlessly rewritten the authorities’ position, but has looked at the case in a pragmatic way,” said Maciej Kowalski, CEO of Combine Konopny.

“Officials who deliberately abused, concealed and misrepresented the facts will now be held personally responsible,” Kowalski said.

Misinterpretation

While the court asserted that flower-based extracts such as CBD fall under EU food safety rules, the court said that the GIS interpretation of these rules was flawed with regard to the surfaces of plants in their raw state, and cited the proxy for serious procedural errors in punishing Kompinat Konopni . .

When the company was ordered to remove the product, “Zioła na Dobry Nastrój” (“Herbs for a Good Mood”) from the market in 2019, Kompinat Konopny immediately took GIS to court rather than simply defending itself against the agency’s ruling, a common course of action. Companies accused of GIS violations.

While the first ruling in the case by a regional administrative court in Warsaw dismissed Kompinat Konopny’s complaint, the company’s appeal eventually resulted in the Supreme Court issuing a detailed 30-page ruling against GIS – a final ruling.

Ignore the evidence

Foods with no record of consumption in the European Union prior to 15 May 1997 are subject to strict rules and onerous food safety testing in order to put them on the market under the “new” – or new – foods regulation established that year.

“(GIS) first misinterpreted the provisions of the new Food Regulations . . . then carried out an incomplete and minimally limited evidentiary procedure, ignoring the documentary evidence provided by the applicant, as well as the evidence presented by the same authority and known to it by virtue of its position,” the court wrote in the decision.

“It has been determined that food containing parts of the cannabis plant is not subject to regulation . . . on a new food,” the court said of the 1997 rule.

Beata Plutowska, a food chemist who is Kowalski’s wife and business partner, compiled historical documentation of cannabis flowers used as food in Europe prior to 1997 as an argument in the case of Kombinat Konopny.

The court concluded that “the corroborative evidence presented by the party in the course of the proceedings in question points to a history of consumption of the cannabis herb as food and as a supplement to a normal diet.”

Procedural violation

In addition to violating the Novel Food Regulations, the court found that GIS violated administrative procedure “by conducting an incomplete evidence proceeding and any evaluation of evidence collected”, and “assigning an inappropriate opinion to an advisory body – leading to a determination that the herb sativa L. New food.”

The case in Poland can be seen as a milestone of sorts, as cannabis stakeholders in other EU countries have faced similar problems on the tops of cannabis plants. For example, the German Federal Court of Justice last year Charges canceled Against a group of hemp tea sellers from Braunschweig, paving the way for the sale of food products based on hemp flowers and leaves on the German market.

Also last year, Lithuania passed a law which explained that producers may grow and sell cannabis flowers in the local market. Before the new law, Lithuanian farmers could grow and export hemp flowers, but only seeds and straw were legal to sell in the country.

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