AUSTRIAN seed-to-sale CBD firm MAGU says the future looks brighter under a new cannabis-friendly Government. Co-Founder Sofie Sagmeister elaborates.
“COVID-19 has hit us hard – Austria locked down early, shops were closed for weeks and we had to implement short-time work.
We’ve reopened our three shops with increased security standards: employees wear masks at work, we have changed our shop set-up to enable customers to buy contactless, we now offer Click & Collect and a same-day contactless delivery service in Vienna.
Our production has been up and running the whole time – obviously, you can’t just tell flowers to wait.
Our cultivation staff follow strict hygiene standards, and the office staff work from home, enjoying virtual meet-ups.
‘Heartbreaking Stories & Heartfelt Thanks’
We know that CBD is a great support for many people. So at the start of the shutdown, we took a look at what we could do to help people keep a cool head, focus and relax.
With key workers supporting us all, the MAGU team looked at how we could make our own contribution and support the nursing staff, doctors, supermarket employees and those maintaining Austria’s vital networks.
We received e-mails with emotional messages, heartbreaking stories and heartfelt thanks from people working in so many professions, from police officers to waste management staff to kindergarten teachers … and so on and so on.
To all of those people currently working hard for all of us, we gave away our water-soluble CBDeus for free.
Now, as our lockdown is being eased, we are receiving a lot of messages from customers about our products. And after reopening our shops, our customers are coming back to tell us how glad they are that we’re still here.
‘Auntie’s Hand-Knitted Mask Help Charities’
We have also started selling masks in our shops. My aunt sews them at home, and with input from our Facebook and Instagram followers we donate 100% of the proceeds to four NGOs in Austria.
The CBD industry in Austria is thriving, although with a new wave of players joining the market we are seeing an increase in questionable practices.
Promises of (medical) salvation through CBD are more and more shared in Austria – and often in a very negligent way.
We watch these new players very closely. We are stern believers in facts over stigmas and (false) promises. For the consumers, as well as the producers sake, legal regulations are inevitable and necessary.
The industry is working with regulators to determine an acceptable regulatory path, after previous Government attempts to impose strict controls on the CBD industry floundered.
‘Existences Were On The Line’
In December 2018, the Ministry of Health prohibited CBD with the government saying the product was uncontrolled and sales were out of hand.
With the new interpretation, we weren’t allowed to sell our products as dietary supplements, from one day to the next.
Suddenly, existences were on the line. This decision brought moments of existential angst for producers, as well as uncertainty for us, and consumers alike.
However MAGU CBD and others across the Austrian CBD sector invested lots of time, energy and money and our legal advisors concluded that the re-interpretation isn’t legally binding.
Here in Austria we are ready and willing to support lawmakers in coming to fact based, educated and well-informed decisions.
Usage History As A Safe Food
In relation to Novel Foods we believe there will be an exception as cannabis, or the full spectrum extract, was consumed to a significant extent in the European Union before May 15, 1997.
However, there can also be an exception because cannabis or the full spectrum extract has a usage history as a safe food.
This usage history as a safe food can also refer to the period after May 15, 1997, and in order for this to be applied a certain intensity and duration of consumption without negative observation must be demonstrated so that scientifically proven empirical values for a food are available.
MAGU and others in the industry are being supported by a recently created patient advocacy body ARGE CANNA which has established its own Seal of Quality benchmark.
Three-Quarters Of Austrian’s Back CBD
A recent survey by MAGU shows that a whopping 78% of Austrians expect the future government to create a framework for a broad availability of CBD. Only 7% of respondents are against that.
Sooner, rather than later, this will also shift the reserved attitude towards THC. Our survey also shows one thing clearly; CBD has long since arrived in the mainstream.
Now it is up to politicians and policy-makers to support this paradigm shift and ensure the availability, as well as quality of CBD products, based on the latest, scientifically-sound findings.
After the decree at the end of 2018 left the Austrian CBD sector with uncertainty, and as we move out of lockdown, things look like they’re on the up-and-up.
The coalition of the Austrian People’s Party and the Green Party has an overall more CBD and cannabis-friendly attitude.”
@MAGU is an Austrian CBD company, specialising in growing, producing and selling high-quality flower buds, CBD oils and its own water-soluble CBDeus.
It is at the forefront of cannabinoid research comprising a team with 45 years of knowledge in R&D, and engaging on collaborative work with theTechnical University of Vienna and the University of Vienna.