Cannabis law and legislation in Poland

Medical use

Polish legislation does not generally allow the growing of cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC in flowering or fruiting tops of plants from which the resin has not been removed ( Non-Fibrous Cannabis). The level of THC has been increased in 2022 (until 7 May 2022 it was set at 0,2%). 

In accordance with the legislative changes that entered into force on 7 May 2022, research institutes are allowed to grow Non-Fibrous Cannabis in order to obtain raw material for the preparation of prescription drugs, provided that such a research institute has obtained a permit issued by the Chief Pharmaceutical Inspector “ CPI”. 

Moreover, scientific entities may grow Non-Fibrous Cannabis for scientific purposes after obtaining a permit from the CPI.

It is also possible to import and sell such cannabis for medical use as a pharmaceutical raw material intended for preparing prescription drugs.

Non-Fibrous Cannabis herb, tinctures, resin and other extracts may constitute a pharmaceutical raw material after obtaining a marketing authorisation issued by the President of the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products (granted for a period of five years). The provisions of pharmaceutical law regarding manufacturing and import of medical raw materials and permits required in connection with such materials apply accordingly.

Non-Fibrous Cannabis for medical use is distributed to patients by pharmacies as a prescription medicine, i.e. a medicinal product prepared in a pharmacy on the basis of a medical prescription issued by a doctor.

Violations of the laws concerning Non-Fibrous Cannabis are treated as criminal offences and are punishable by fines or imprisonment.

Recreational use

The production, import and sale of recreational Non-Fibrous Cannabis is forbidden in Poland.

Industrial use

The applicable law does not provide a list of permitted uses for industrial cannabis (Fibrous Hemp).

However, due to legislative changes that entered into force on 7 May 2022, the list of sectors for the needs of which Fibrous Hemp can be grown (provided that an appropriate permit has been obtained) has been extended. Please find below the full list:

  1. textile, chemical, pulp and paper, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and energy industries;
  2. seeds industries and scientific research;
  3. breeding of hemp varieties, land rehabilitation and land remediation;
  4. food, veterinary, fodder, beekeeping, fertiliser and insulation purposes;
  5. production of composite materials, building materials and natural plant protection products.

As of 7 May 2022, it is also possible to grow Fibrous Hemp for own use. However, it will be limited to the following purposes: food, veterinary, fodder, beekeeping, fertiliser, insulation, textile, energy industries, land rehabilitation and remediation as well as production of composite materials, building materials and natural plant protection products. In addition, the area of cultivation of Fibrous Hemp for one’s own use can be no greater than 1 hectare per year. 

What is more, each producer and collector of Fibrous Hemp is obligated to obtain an entry in the register maintained by the National Agriculture Support Centre (PL: Krajowy Ośrodek Wsparcia Rolnictwa). 

Poland has no regulation on CBD. The applicable legislation recognises only the difference between (non- fibrous) cannabis and Fibrous Hemp (depending on the content of THC). CBD is not a controlled substance provided that it was derived from cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC. CBD is becoming increasingly popular as a food or a cosmetic ingredient. 

Patentability

It is generally possible to patent a cannabis-based product in Poland. The legislation concerning industrial property does not contain any specific restrictions in this respect. However, patents are generally not granted for inventions the exploitation of which would be contrary to public order or decency. Having said that, the exploitation of an invention is not regarded as contrary to public order only because it is prohibited by law.

Latest developments

There have been no recent development in terms of legislation on the legalisation of cannabis. However, there have been changes when it comes to prescribing medical cannabis. On 2 August 2023, provisions came into force whereby a prescription for medical cannabis is issued after the prescriber has verified through the electronic system or after collecting an interview from the patient that the amount and type of medicinal products prescribed to the patient in prescriptions issued and filled are not sufficient for the proper conduct of pharmacotherapy. A prescription necessary for the continuation of treatment can be issued if no more than three months have elapsed since the patient was last examined. From 1 November 2023, prescriptions for medical cannabis can only be issued in electronic form. 

Portrait ofAgnieszka Starzyńska
Agnieszka Starzyńska
Counsel
Warsaw
Portrait ofUrszula Gondek
Urszula Gondek