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Austria cannabis seeds

How Austria Became Europe’s Cannabis Clone Superstore

For those who want to legally grow huge amounts of cannabis in Austria, business is booming — but not yet blooming.

The Austrian Narcotics Act prohibits the cultivation of cannabis only for the purpose of obtaining narcotics, and THC can be obtained only from cannabis flower. But if you promise your intent isn’t for consumption or sale, and swear you won’t let the plants flower, you can buy truckloads of clones. More than 250,000 clones are sold annually in the capital city of Vienna alone.

The trade has made Austria, home of Mozart, chocolate cake Sachertorte, and deep-fried schnitzel, home to Europe’s only cannabis clone superstores. They attract locals and foreigners alike. In most European Union countries, cannabis seeds are legal and home growing is the name of the game. But Germany and Switzerland don’t allow the sale of cannabis seeds. So growers in these countries simply visit neighboring Austria, where not just seeds but cannabis cuttings are legal.

In Vienna, where the first cannabis growers opened their greenhouses more than a decade ago, sales by major vendors already surpass seven-digit figures. And numerous smaller vendors specialize in niche offerings, such as organic cuttings or breeding female seedlings from feminized seeds.

A Visit to “Hemp & Hemp”

When strolling through the storied cobblestone streets of Vienna, you may pass by Hanf & Hanf, one of Vienna’s premier clone shops. You’ll know you’re near when you catch a whiff of the sweet smell of freshly trimmed mother plants. And luckily, despite being home to many pungent garden centers, in Vienna there is no “Nasal Ranger” patrolling the streets like there is in Denver.

Strains prized in the U.S., like Bubble Gum, Cheese, Shiva Skunk, Herijuana or White Satin, exude their specific aromas, hinting at what’s to come once the baby plants are allowed to mature at home. But remember, the intention must remain pure — no abuse of narcotics.

In Europe’s “clone capital,” LED lights ensure short internodes on the seedlings, making the clones suitable for the Sea of Green growing method popular in large-scale cultivation operations. Outdoor strains and fully stocked growboxes are widely available. The staff at Hanf & Hanf has nearly 20 gardeners who grow cannabis legally in a facility thousands of square feet in size. The greenhouse extends over two floors in a contorted building behind the store. It’s home to a maze of mother, grow root, pre-grow, and fog rooms where more than 80 carefully selected varieties of the continent’s leading breeds are cultivated.

If visiting Vienna, come for a weekend. Once a month, it’s “Green Friday,” with special discounts on all cuttings. Business is so strong that Than Drazen, founder of Hanf & Hanf and an Austrian cannabis pioneer, sometimes has to lock the shop door despite long lines of people waiting on the sidewalk for clones. Sometimes vans with foreign license plates pull up to buy clones en masse.

A few subway stops away, you can even find flowering plants under artificial light in the Hemp Embassy. Stivi Wolyniec, owner of cannabis cultivation superstore Growcity, founded the Hemp Museum’s Club last year, which operates the Hemp Embassy in Vienna’s Esterhazygasse.

Austria is Simply Peculiar

Besides allowing clones but prohibiting the intent to consume, the country’s Narcotic Substances Act also defines when allowing your plants to flower is allowed. If the buds aren’t destined for consumption, cannabinoid extraction, or sale, the blooming plants are — at least theoretically — still legal by the letter of the law. That interpretation of the rules allows the Hemp Embassy to showcase lovely flowering cannabis plants sealed behind glass.

“It is not forbidden to possess or exhibit hemp flowers,” Wolyniec said of the Hemp Embassy’s permanent exhibition. “It’s about the purpose behind it. If the purpose is abuse, then both the growing and the flowering plant are prohibited. If the purpose is not abuse, but another — in our case an exhibition — cannabis buds are legal.”

But all good things must come to an end. Once the plants on exhibition lose their luster, they’re destroyed in an incinerator under a notary’s watchful eye.

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The legal cannabis-clones business has spread across Austria. Only in the most conservative parts — such as Salzburg and Tirol in the Alps — does the justice system sporadically prosecute openings of so-called hemp greenhouses, as the stores are called in Austria. But only operators of really large, obviously commercial operations are punished with prison sentences — small-time growers usually face court hearings and probationary punishments.

Cannabis in Austria – Laws, Use, and History

Austria has complex laws when it comes to cannabis. Sale and supply are punished harshly, but personal use is decriminalised, and it’s permissible to grow small numbers of cannabis plants. However, under the current government, this could be set to change. Medicinal cannabis is available, but it’s extremely hard to obtain.

    • CBD Products
    • not clear
    • Recreational cannabis
    • Decriminalized
    • Medicinal cannabis
    • Legal since 2008
    • Can you possess and use cannabis in Austria?
    • Can you sell cannabis in Austria?
    • Can you grow cannabis in Austria?

    Cannabis laws in Austria

    Can you possess and use cannabis in Austria?

    Austrian cannabis laws are dictated by the Suchtmittelgesetz (Narcotic Substances Act), which was passed in 1998 after the country joined the EU.

    Since 2016, use of cannabis hasn’t been listed as a criminal offence; which effectively decriminalises it. However, possession of any drugs can be punished with up to six months in prison or a fine; providing the amount of cannabis is below the threshold. The threshold is defined by a Ministry of Health decree, and is currently set at 20 grams of THC (pure substance) or 40 grams of THCA. The maximum sentence for possession of amounts that exceed ‘personal use’ is one-year imprisonment.

    There are also a range of alternatives in place, such as a suspended sentence, or treatment. This was streamlined in 2015, with police sending cannabis users straight to the health authorities, rather than prosecuting them.

    In cases where there are aggravating circumstances (for example, if an offender possesses a larger amount and it’s believed they intended to sell it, or if a minor was involved), the prison sentence is extended to a maximum of three years.

    The country’s approach is to make a distinction between the criminals trafficking the drugs, and those using the drugs, who may have health or addiction problems. Special provisions are also in place for cannabis and ‘magic’ mushrooms.

    Can you sell cannabis in Austria?

    The law regards the sale and supply of cannabis as a much more serious offence. If the individual is caught trafficking large quantities (defined as 15 times the threshold quantity), they are liable to receive:

    • A two to three-year prison sentence for possession (depending on the type of drug)
    • Five years’ imprisonment for import
    • One to 10 years, or 10 to 20 years / life depending on other circumstances, such as operating as part of a gang, having previous convictions, trafficking large amounts of cannabis etc.

    Large or ‘serious’ quantities are defined as anything over 20 grams of THC.

    Can you grow cannabis in Austria?

    In 2008, the Narcotic Substances Act was amended, to better fit with EU legislation. The amended version permitted the cultivation of cannabis in order to extract ‘active substances’ to use in medicinal preparations.

    The new law also gave individuals the right to grow cannabis plants at home; providing they were not grown in order to extract THC. The plants also had to contain less than 0.3% THC. In realistic terms, this meant that people could grow the plants up to the point of flowering, as prior to this point, the levels of THC were likely to be below the limit.

    Toni Straka, of the Hemp Institute, commented: “We have a strange legal situation. Consumption of a (cannabis) joint is forbidden, but the selling of the hemp plant as a room air quality improver or a decorative plant is allowed.” He estimated that around 300,000 seedlings are sold in the country every month.

    Cannabis is widely grown in the country as a result of this law. Some large-scale growers, when brought before the court, have successfully argued that their plants had yet to flower, and managed to avoid a prison sentence. In fact, the law doesn’t actually define the emergence of flowers and seed heads as evidence of intent to use for drug-manufacture or sale.

    According to the Vienna “Verein Hanfmuseum” (Hemp Museum Association), the Ministry of the Interior had stated in 2015 that “Only the harvesting of plants that are not permitted for commercial purposes with clearly formed flowers and seed heads represents production of an addictive substance under the law.”

    However, this situation may be set to change soon. At the end of 2017, the newly elected People’s Party announced that they planned to ban the sale of “hemp plants and hemp seeds”. This would not only impact those who grow it for personal use, but also farmers and grow-shop owners.

    Is CBD legal in Austria?

    There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the current CBD laws in Austria. Up until 2018, CBD was legal to purchase and sell in Austria, providing that the levels of THC were below 0.3%. However, the current government has recently revised this; just as most other European countries have fully legalised it. It’s now illegal to use in edible products, but is still permitted to be sold as an ‘aromatherapy product’.

    For example, in 2018, Aida (a pastry shop) started selling cakes with CBD in them. However, they were banned from doing so, as the government have stated that the inclusion of CBD in foods or cosmetics is prohibited.

    Can cannabis seeds be sent to Austria?

    At present, cannabis seeds can be legally purchased and sold in Austria, and may be sent through the post.

    Medicinal cannabis in Austria

    In 2008, Austria passed a bill permitting cannabis cultivation for medicinal and research purposes. The bill stated that all cannabis would be grown under the control of the Health Ministry, and that domestic cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes would still be illegal.

    The country permits the supply of Dronabinol, Sativex and Nabilone to patients with a prescription from a registered medical practitioner. Dronabinol is the most commonly prescribed, as it’s cheaper than the other two; though it is still costly. Health insurance usually covers cannabis-products if the patient suffers from MS, AIDS, cancer, or diseases of the nervous system.

    However, some experts believe that the current medicinal programme isn’t doing enough for Austria’s patients. Unlike many other countries in the EU, the prescription of cannabis flowers in Austria is still forbidden. However, Rudolf Anschober, Health Minister from the Greens, is prepared to discuss this matter. He imagines a scenario for medical treatment with cannabis flowers.

    Industrial hemp in Austria

    Industrial hemp production was reintroduced in 1995, after having been virtually non-existent for 37 years. It can be legally grown in the country, providing it contains no more than 0.3% THC.

    The hemp industry is thriving in many parts of the country. For example, in Hanfthal (which translates as ‘Hemp Valley’), around 70 hectares of hemp are grown, and there is a museum and information centre, which details the 900-year hemp growing traditions of the area.

    Austria not only produces hemp for textiles, building materials, and oilseed crops; it also contributes to hemp technology. Two examples of this are:

    • The Hempstone-Zelfo process. Ground hemp fibres are combined with water to produce a dense composite plastic that can be highly polished.
    • Hempstone. This is used to produce furniture, musical instruments, and other items.

    Politics and cannabis

    Since 2020, the Austrian government has been a coalition of the ÖVP (Austrian People’s Party) and the Greens. The Federal Chancellor is Sebastian Kurz, who is known for his right-wing views. Thus far, they have made CBD in edibles illegal and declared their intentions to make cannabis plants and seeds illegal too. This had considerable consequences; not just for personal users, but for farmers and grow-shops across the country as well.

    One thing is for sure – Kurz’s views aren’t shared with everyone. The Social Democratic Party have spoken out in favour of decriminalising cannabis in the past, and even spearheaded a campaign to legalise it entirely. The Greens are also in favour of legalisation, and are pushing for a tightly-controlled small-scale retail system; enabling people to purchase small quantities of cannabis.

    Good to know

    If you are travelling to Austria (or currently live there), you may be interested to know the following:

    Cannabis seeds in Austria

    Auto Sour Diesel is a feminized autoflowering variety of cannabis. Its buds are compact and highly productive, boasting a spicy citrus perfume, combined with the aroma of gasoline. It contains a high percentage of THC- approximately 17%- thus inducing long-lasting, uplifting effects. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering seeds: YES Grows: Indoor, Outdoor.

    Super Skunk is one of the best and strongest varieties of cannabis. It belongs to the Indica variety and it is a highly potent variety with a short flowering period. It produces rich, compact crops, thus being recommended and appreciated by both experienced and inexperienced cultivators. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering seeds: YES Grows:Indoor, Outdoor.

    Predominantly Sativa, Kali Mist is a feminized autoflowering variety of marijuana. The plant that grows from these seeds produces soft cones that are filled with resin and have high contents of THC. The inferior cones develop completely thanks to the structure of the plant’s leaves and branches, as they grow scarcer towards the roots. Sex: Feminized.

    Auto Big Bud, a feminized strain, boasts autoflowering properties, thus being highly appreciated for its efficacy. In the final stage, it produces big, dense, resin-filled buds. Furthermore, its height is easily controllable. Its aroma is spicy, but it also comprises a slightly fruity perfume. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering seeds: YES Grows: Indoor.

    Auto Lavender Feminized is a feminized, autoflowering variety, obtained by crossing the Lavender and Lowryder 2 species. The plants that grow from this variety have a very specific structure: they are tall, vigorous, and have large branches. At the end of the flowering period, the plants acquire an orange-gold shade. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering seeds.

    Auto Bubble Gum Feminized type of feminized autoflowering cannabis that is very stable. The plant is short, it has a few branches and big, resin-filled cones. Its flavor is sweet, reminding one of chewing gum, and induces pleasant effects, characterized by euphoria and uplifting feelings. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering seeds: YES Grows: Indoor, Outdoor.

    Auto Mazar Feminized is a very popular strain, it is autoflowering type of marijuana. It has all the qualities one might look for in a cannabis variety: efficiency, high resistance, high productivity of the buds and a strong effect that manifests itself on all levels. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering seeds: YES Grows: Indoor, Outdoor, Greenhouse Height.

    Auto Mafia Devil Feminized is a very popular and highly appreciated type of feminized, autoflowering cannabis. It is particularly suitable for those who wish to have big, vigorous plants. When offered a sufficient amount of light, this plant can reach heights of approximately 2 meters. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering seeds: YES Grows: Indoor, Outdoor.

    Auto AK47 Feminized is a variety of feminized, autoflowering marijuana that boasts all of the qualities one might look for in a feminized strain. The plant that grows from these seeds is compact and has big cones, which stand out due to their sweet aroma. Its lifecycle is short, amounting to 70 days after germination. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering.

    Auto White Widow Feminized is one of the most popular types of feminized, autoflowering cannabis, and it can be cultivated both in indoor and outdoor environments. It produces compact plants of medium heights, it has a pleasant aroma and induces strong, uplifting effects. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering seeds: YES Grows: Indoor, Outdoor, Greenhouse.

    Auto Blueberry Feminized is a species of feminized, autoflowering cannabis, which excels at quality. The plants that grow from these seeds are violet-blue, boasting a sweet, pleasant flavor, similar to that of blueberries.This type of marijuana is very popular and sought after, as it is easy to grow and look after. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering seeds.

    Auto Northern Light Feminized is a feminized autoflowering marijuana strain which has very little smell. It gives large resin-filled cones and grows very well regardless of the environment it is cultivated in. As a typical indica the effects are strong and energizing, which makes it popular among both experts and beginners. Sex: Feminized Autoflowering.

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