Medical Claims Won't Help Busted Dealers
(CN) - Though busted for marketing a "dubious medicinal product," two dealers of synthetic pot cannot use health claims to skirt their conviction, an adviser to the EU's highest court said Thursday.
The German entrepreneurs in this case sold blends of aromatic herbs that also contained synthetic cannabinoids with the psychoactive properties of real marijuana between 2010 and 2012.
Limited by a federal narcotics law that forbade criminal prosecution, German authorities instead sent the pair to prison for violating medication laws, saying they had marketed a "dubious medicinal product."
The entrepreneurs appealed to Germany's federal court of justice, which acknowledged the health risks of the blend but asked the European Court of Justice whether the product might still be considered medicine under EU law since it produced a pharmacological reaction - with no therapeutic purpose.
In his recommendation to the European high court, Advocate General Yves Bot said the concept of "medicinal product" as defined by EU law cannot include products used for purely recreational purposes and not meant to prevent or treat illnesses.
While narcotics can be essential for pain relief, the entrepreneurs never marketed their blend for that purpose, Bot said. In fact, their customers purchased the product for the psychic effect only, he added.
The opinion - which was not made available in English - says EU medicinal law requires products to both modify physiological functions and to restore and correct the body. Bot expressed doubts as to whether the blend of aromatic herbs and synthetic THC could achieve the latter goals.
Free-market and free-business arguments also failed to sway the adviser, who noted that it is illegal to import and sell narcotics not distributed through channels tightly controlled by member-state authorities.
The adviser also warned Germany about bending prescription-medication laws just to bust the pair, and encouraged member states to draft appropriate legislation to combat illicit drug sales.