What will be the biggest challenge clients face? What have advisors done in different jurisdictions to protect clients?

Although there is a rapidly growing number of CBD stores in Austria, it’s worth noting a few different uses and the respective restrictions of cannabis products.

Food
Cannabinoid-containing extracts marketed as such or in foodstuffs – predominantly marketed as food supplements (e.g., CBD oil), are generally considered to be novel foods. Novel foods are defined as foods not used for human consumption on a significant scale in the European Union before May 15, 1997 and are included in at least one of the categories mentioned in Article 3 (2) (a) of the Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 on Novel Foods. Only approved novel foods included in the union list may be used as such in accordance with the conditions and may be placed on the market. At present, there is no such authorisation available. Thus, placing on the market is not permitted.

Cosmetics
Regarding the use of cannabis and extracts in cosmetic products, reference should be made to Article 14 (1) (a) of Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009 in conjunction with Annex 2 (list of prohibited substances). In this list of substances prohibited in cosmetic products, natural and synthetic narcotics are mentioned. This includes cannabis and extracts made from it. It is therefore not permitted to place them on the market.

Recreational vs medicinal

Recreational
Production, import and sale of recreational cannabis are strictly forbidden according to the Addictive Drugs Act in Austria.

Medicinal
Classification of cannabinoid-containing extracts as medicinal products can only be considered when these products have properties of curing or alleviating or preventing a human alleviation or prevention of a human disease or pathological condition (presentational drugs) are attributed to these products (presentation medicinal products).

In Austria, a drug with cannabis active ingredients is currently approved. It contains the combination of two extracts, one from a THC-rich cannabis strain, one from a cannabidiol-rich strain. This medicine is approved for the treatment of spasmodic symptoms in patients with multiple sclerosis.