Estonian cannabis stores found to be selling illegal products

  • 2020-02-12
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Tests on products seized during raids in August at six CBD cannabis stores in Estonia showed they contained THC in a banned state and criminal proceedings will continue.

Rait Pikaro, head of the North Prefecture's narcotics and organized crime unit, said the test results showed traders had not determined the products they were selling contained the drug THC in legal quantities, the English-language news portal of public broadcaster ERR reported.

The officer also emphasized that, for instance, the sale of cannabis flowerheads as souvenirs is not consistent with the purposes of the law. 

"We are working to ensure that regulations are accurate and for it to be clear under what conditions industrial cannabis can be handled," Pikaro said

Criminal proceedings for the six controlled shops are ongoing. Possible punishment for shops found to be in violation will be determined after the investigation is completed and the prosecution has made a final decision on the proceedings.

Pikaro warned against buying products from unknown vendors over the internet in the belief they would comply with Estonian law, even if the vendor has certificate-like letters of approval.

"A piece of colored paper with the word 'certificate' accompanying the goods does not excuse the local trader of liability in the event of production exceeding the THC limit," he explained.

The permitted limit for THC in industrial hemp products is 0.2 percent.

Of the 35 products in one store, 25 were over the limit -- the highest THC content was 1.3 percent and the lowest 0.26 percent. Samples of liquid products from another store showed THC levels of 0.48 percent to 3 percent. In the other four stores inspected THC content in products ranged from 0.41 percent to 1 percent.

The officer noted that when ordering products from abroad, every person has to make sure in advance that every product brought or ordered to Estonia is legal.

"It is not permissible for a substance or product of unknown composition to be ordered to Estonia and then to test its legality here. The police will verify the correctness of the goods in case of suspected infringement, but the police cannot be used as a tester for goods," he said.

Pikaro said criminal proceedings will continue to be initiated when tests carried out by the Estonian Institute of Forensic Science show a product has exceeded the permitted limit.