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Legal certainty in Swiss hemp cultivation

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The package of agricultural ordinances passed by the Federal Council on 11 November 2020 has a direct influence on the cultivation of hemp in Switzerland. These changes proposed by the Swiss government mean that for the first time legal certainty will prevail in Swiss hemp cultivation. Until now, in Switzerland, commercial agriculture as well as commercial horticulture (i.e. also in greenhouses and indoor plants) was only allowed to grow hemp varieties with a THC content of less than 1%, if these varieties were also listed in the EU catalog of varieties for hemp. In the course of the ordinance package 2020, the Federal Council has now decided that the listing in the EU catalog of varieties is no longer a criterion for cultivation. Provided that the legal requirements are met (THC content <1%), any hemp variety can be bred for commercial agriculture as well as for commercial horticulture as of January 1, 2021.

However, it is not the case that hemp cultivation and the use of hemp will no longer be subject to legal restrictions as of 2021. Furthermore, the following regulations apply throughout Switzerland:

– Hemp is still not allowed to be used without restriction as feed for farm animals. In this area, the legal regulations on hemp for animal feed must still be observed.
– In certain cantons the obligation to register hemp cultivation still applies. The Federal Office for Agriculture (BLW) recommends in its leaflet to report every commercial hemp cultivation to the cantonal authorities.

Very briefly:
The legal hemp cultivation in Switzerland will be legally relaxed as of 01 January 2021. Even varieties that are not listed in the EU catalog of hemp varieties can be grown commercially. However, the provisions of the feed legislation and the cantonal obligation to notify will remain in force.

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