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Cannabis Breeding in Republic of Serbia: Sensation to Public, Pitfall to Authorities

Cannabis Breeding in Republic of Serbia: Sensation to Public, Pitfall to Authorities

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Since 2013 and adoption of the Rulebook on conditions of breeding of Cannabis Sativa L, a.k.a industrial hemp, the Republic of Serbia acknowledged its production and cast a new light on domestic agriculture. Even though industrial hemp has been a prodigy to older generations for its miraculous multi-purpose benefits, younger generations often misplace it for marijuana, derived from a similar sort – Indian hemp. Regrettably, a similar misunderstanding in regards to its effects is often made by competent state authorities.

The ’’high’’ in relatively low numbers

A small but relevant difference in two cannabis sorts is the percentage of THC, which can be found in industrial hemp in only 0,3% and 10% or higher in Indian hemp. The Rulebook aims to contain the misuse of the cannabis plant, by limiting the breeders to cannabis sorts with less than 0,3%.

In 2015, a hemp breeding society ’’Konoplja’’ emerged in Serbia, gathering cannabis breeders with legally acquired lots dedicated to widening the production of cannabis intrastate. As a result, the year of 2019 measured over 1000 hectares of Serbian land under cannabis plants.

CBD and THC – oranges and mandarines

Even though both CBD and THC have the same molecular structure, the different arrangement of atoms is what separates the ’’safe’’ from ’’ miscellaneous’’. While CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, THC may cause psychotic side-effects, such as hallucinations, memory loss, and slower reactive systems. However, both compounds have ground-breaking medical effects in treating the following conditions:

  • multiplex sclerosis
  • seizures
  • mental disorders
  • insomnia
  • pain
  • nausea
  • anxiety

The reason state authorities often look at hemp plants as potentially dangerous, is the fact they contain both THC and CBD. Nonetheless, compared to marijuana plants, THC found in hemp is expressed in only up to 0,3 % and the occurrence of CBD, diminishing the effect of THC even more, makes the hemp plant completely harmless.

Playing by the (Rule)book

If you are a company with main activity in agriculture or an aspiring farmer, interested in a relatively new investable business, this is what you should know about cannabis breeding in Serbia:

  • Cannabis Sativa L with less than 0,3% THC is the only legal hemp for breeding
  • Condition for obtaining a permit to grow hemp for the production of fiber, seed production for animal nutrition, processing, and seed quality testing is to use seeds in accordance with the law governing seed
  • Condition for obtaining a permit to grow hemp for further reproduction of seed is to be inscribed in the Register of seed producers
  • Among other elements, you must describe the purpose for which you’re breeding hemp in the request for hemp breeding permit, so bear in mind that uses other than the described one may have a legal consequence
  • The license is issued for a period of one year
  • The license will not be issued to persons or legal entities who were previously punished for illegal breeding, consummation or stashing of cannabis

CBD: Cannabis breeding disapproval?

The Government’s multiple proposals on banning the flower of industrial hemp, as the main source of CBD oil, came as a surprise to experts in the field of medicine. The WHO (World health organization) proposed the removal of cannabis from the list of narcotic drugs due to its helpful medical effects.

However, Serbia is far from accepting such a standpoint, as authorities are still weighing if the existing Rulebook should live to see another year. Finally, even without the most lucrative part of the plant, breeders may use the fragments of cannabis for surprising purposes such as heating and construction. After all, the first ’’green house’’ in Serbia was made from the most astounding source of them all – cannabis stem.

This text is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Should you require any additional information, feel free to contact us.

By Milos Velimirovic, Partner, and Anastasija Milosevic, Associate, Samardzic, Oreski & Grbovic

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