What to Know About
Cannabis in Belgium
Aside from simple possession being informally decriminalized, cannabis in Belgium is completely illegal. But unlike its neighbors Holland and Luxembourg that have instituted innovative and progressive cannabis policies and laws, Belgium has a ways to go to catch up.
Still, cannabis in Belgium is on the rise. There have been numerous acquisitions and concerted efforts to grow Belgium’s cannabis industry. If you want to get a head start in the Belgian cannabis market, here’s what you need to know!
Cannabis in Belgium: The Past
The history of cannabis in Belgium goes back hundreds of years when hemp was used for industrial purposes like creating rope, canvas, and fabric. But like much of the Western world, Belgium cracked down on cannabis in the early 20th century by imposing tough criminal penalties for even minor possession.
In the early parts of the 21st century, views on cannabis use in Belgium began a marked shift towards acceptance.
In 2003, the Belgian government made a distinction in the law between cannabis possession and possession of other controlled substances, such as heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamines, etc.
Finally, in 2019, the Belgian government said that it was creating a medical cannabis agency to handle distribution of medicinal cannabis, but there has yet to be any follow-through on a medicinal cannabis program. Instead, the only cannabis-based medications approved for use in Belgium are Sativex, Epidyolex, and CBD-containing magisterial preparations.
Questions on cannabis
Cannabis in Belgium: The Present
Belgium and its neighbors are considered socially progressive countries. But unlike its two neighbors in the inter-regional coalition of Benelux, Holland and Luxembourg, Belgium is considered to be, according to High Times, “hopelessly behind the times” in cannabis reform.
Cannabis is illegal for personal use in Belgium. However, simple possession has been largely decriminalized and will likely result in a mere fine.
Possession of up to 3 grams of cannabis may be punishable by a fine of €120-200. But be careful: If you’re found to have distributed cannabis or possessed it too close to a school, you can be sentenced to three months to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to 800,000 euros!
Many of its neighbors who have decriminalized recreational cannabis also maintain a medicinal cannabis regime, but Belgium is different. You can’t obtain cannabis in Belgium through a pharmacy or dispensary, nor is it legal to grow your own — despite some websites suggesting otherwise.
Cannabis cultivation remains prohibited on the books. Similarly to Spain, Belgium has cannabis social clubs that are able to operate through legal loopholes.
The laws on CBD are an entirely separate matter from the THC-containing cannabis strains. CBD with <0.3% THC is completely legal \, including in Belgium. Many European countries have thriving CBD and hemp industries.
If you’re just looking to start a cannabis company, but you’re not married to THC-containing products only, your best bet is to start a CBD business in Belgium.
Cannabusiness in Belgium
For the time being, if you’re interested in starting a cannabis company in Belgium, you’ll need to stick to CBD containing less than 0.3% THC. Note that food products containing CBD are considered “novel food products” under EU law and must be authorized before being put on the market.
There have been incidents over the years where police authorities have raided CBD stores for their CBD oil, which should only be sold in pharmacies around Belgium and cannot be sold as medicinal products or food supplements.
With these regulations in mind, if you’re interested in joining the Belgian cannabis industry, your best (and really only) option is to open a CBD or hemp company. Remember not to market CBD products as food, as doing so will likely lead to police raids, potential fines, and loss of product.
There are many regulations that apply to these types of ventures, so it’s best to start by contacting a professional cannabis consultant like Higher Yields Consulting.
4 Steps to Start a
Cannabusiness in Belgium
There are a number of steps you must take to start any Belgian business, no matter the industry. To sell cannabis in Belgium, here’s where to start:
- Work with accredited buyers and sellers of CBD products to ensure quality control. Also, double-check their products to make sure that they are staying at or under the 0.3% THC threshold. One such company that offers bulk sales of CBD extracts and oils to Belgium is Essentia Pura.
- Follow the steps for starting a business as set by the Belgian government. Choose a legal status, join necessary associations, register your business, open a current account, and request a VAT identification number and customs identification.
- Double-check the small details like making sure you have the necessary insurance policies, joining a payroll processing company, and registering with the Social Security Office.
- Meet additional requirements based on the region where you wish to establish your new business: the Flemish Region, the Brussels-Capital Region, or the Walloon Region.
Finally, consult a professional like one of our experts at Higher Yields Consulting — as well as an attorney — for help navigating the rocky terrain of regulations concerning cannabis in Belgium.
Contact Us to discuss cannabis
Licenses in Belgium
If you are looking to attain a license for hemp or cannabis in Belgium Higher Yields Cannabis Consulting can help. Our team of cannabis licensing consultants and technical writers has had great success helping newcomers and experienced operators attain licenses all over the world.
Cannabis in Belgium: The Future
Despite its progressive social stances and location within Benelux, reform for cannabis in Belgium lags behind its neighbors. But there is reason for hope.
Because of its position as one of the capitals of the EU, it’s reasonable to believe that the status quo against cannabis will inevitably yield to progressive cannabis policies, like those originating from countries like France, Malta, Germany, Holland, Denmark, and many others.
Our experts have decades of combined experience making entrepreneurs’ dreams of cannabusiness ownership become reality. Contact us today to take your first steps toward owning your very own Belgian cannabis company!
Last updated: March 17, 2023