Are cannabinoids Legal In Europe? A Review Of EU Laws For 2023

Why WeeDutch Supports Cannabis Legalization and Education in Europe

Table of Contents

Cannabis and all of its derivatives were prohibited worldwide for a long time. It was generally viewed as a dangerous drug, and therefore its use and cultivation were prohibited. However, as our understanding of cannabinoids grew, it became clear that cannabis offers far more than just its psychoactive effects. And as the beneficial effects of cannabis extracts (such as CBD, or CBN) were widely understood and accepted, governments over the world began amending their laws to permit their usage. In this process, European Union member states were among the trend-setters. Although there are still many challenges to overcome before the Cannabinoids market in the European Union can be deemed open and standardized, we feel that the EU and, in particular, a few of its member states are going in the right direction. This is evident as an increasing number of companies enter the Cannabinoid oil industry and provide a diverse range of Cannabinoids products.

As the medicinal effects of Cannabinoids and comparable compounds became more widely known, attitudes toward marijuana began to shift. However, despite the popularity of cannabinoids, such adjustments require time. Cannabinoids and dietary supplements containing CBD are now classified new foods in the EU. Novel foods are, by definition, foods that were not consumed in large quantities by humans in the EU before May 15, 1997, when the first Regulation on novel foods went into effect.

Over the last few years, numerous countries worldwide are slowly legalizing specific cannabinoids and their extracts, and we believe this trend is going to continue. However, attention to detail is still required when determining what is lawful and what is not. The legal values of the relevant chemicals are precisely defined, and what is legal in one country may be illegal in another.

THC is frequently the problem; it is not the desired component, yet it frequently ends up in your extract. The plant, utilized as the raw material for extracting Cannabinoids is Cannabis Sativa L., a plant that also contains the euphoric drug. Despite the optimization of the extraction method for cannabinoids, some will still be present in the extract.
There is another THC-free Cannabinoids extract, termed Cannabinoid isolates. This items are more likely to be lawful because it does not include psychoactive drugs. Some nations do permit the sale and use of cannabinoids, but only if they are THC-free. In this page, you can learn more about Cannabinoids isolates.

However, being THC-free doesn’t necessarily mean lawful. Before opening a Cannabinoids store or engaging in any Cannabinoids-related activity, you should extensively research the applicable Cannabinoids laws.

How do specific regulations affect my cannabinoids company?

If you intend to engage in any cannabinoids-related business, it is imperative that you understand the applicable laws in your nation. Even if you have the best of intentions, you could get into serious legal trouble if you end up dealing with anything that is unlawful. Don’t forget that you’re dealing with a formerly illegal narcotic, even whether you’re dealing with a cosmetic product or a dietary supplement that contains cannabis. If you’re interested in the sale of Cannabinoids, you need to be familiar with the law of the country you are based in as well as the law of the countries you’re selling to. Whether you intend to grow industrial hemp, process Cannabis Sativa L., or sell cannabinoid oils, you need to be conversant with all the related legislation.

Are cannabis Completely Legal In The Entire European Union?

The European Union may be the largest global market for cannabinoids products, and until a few years ago, the sale of cannabinoids was unrestricted. Even while some could consider the situation with the innovative foods regulation outlined above as a setback, we would not be that negative. The regulation and the decisions of the EFSA might be just what is needed to harmonize the EU internal market regarding the Cannabinoids and Cannabinoids oils and launch rapid growth in the EU Cannabinoids market in the years to come.

A Review Of EU Laws For 2023

So, are cannabinoids entirely legal throughout the European Union?

Unfortunately, there is no concise and definite response to this question, given each EU member state has its own rules and regulations. While all Cannabinoids products aren’t legal in every country in the European Union, it is legal at least in some form in most countries.
Regarding the general attitude towards cannabis in general, Europe was long one of the most liberal places worldwide. A good example is the Netherlands, where marijuana use for recreational purposes has been legal for decades. Another example is the Czech Republic, where possession and usage of the substance were decriminalized.

While recreational and therapeutic use of a substance are two completely different things, a generally relaxed attitude nonetheless helped get Cannabinoids and similar substances acquire popularity among wider masses and so led to it being legalized sooner. Legalization of cannabinoids was facilitated by the decriminalization of cannabis in a number of nations over the past decade.
But to get back to the main issue, where is Cannabinoids legal? To achieve a precise and unequivocal answer, we need to discuss about the rules and regulations in all the member states. We’ll go over each country in the EU separately, verify whether Cannabinoids is legal there, but first, let’s look at the EU novel food legislation, which is common for all the member states.

Maximum THC limits in hempseed foods

Following a positive opinion of the Standing Committee for Foodstuffs, the Commission amended Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards the maximum levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC) in hemp seeds and products derived therefrom.

Maximum THC levels: 3,0 mg/kg for dry products and 7,5 mg/kg for hemp seed oil

The maximum levels have been set at 3,0 mg/kg for dry products (flour, proteins, seeds, snacks) and 7,5 mg/kg for hemp seed oil.

A major Change: INCI Ingredient

The Major Change In The Whole Of The EU Happened In February 2021, When Cannabidiol, Derived From Cannabis Secured Its Name As An INCI Ingredient.

While CBD may be recognized as a novel food, CBD still has to undergo a registration procedure in front of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to be regarded as the novel food, all across the EU. 

*2021 Update*

Cannabidiol, a cannabinoid derived from cannabis, was approved as an INCI ingredient in the entire EU in February 2021, marking a major shift.

The brand-new entry dedicated in the CosIng to Cannabidiol is: Cannabidiol (CBD) (CANNABIDIOL – obtained from extract or tincture or resin of cannabis) (CANNABIDIOL – derived from extract or tincture or resin of cannabis).

Essentially this means that non-synthetic CBD can be finally incorporated into Cannabinoids skin care formulations!

*2022 Update*

While CBD may be recognized as a novel food, CBD still has to complete a registration procedure in front of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to be regarded as the novel food, all across the EU. As of the middle of 2022, 19 applications were presented to the EFSA to identify CBD products as new food. None of the applications were concluded as of November 2022, as EFSA decided that it needs to gather further information regarding possible adverse effects of Cannabinoids – it is extremely important to note that this does not mean that CBD is considered unsafe – quite the contrary, \sEFSA has stated that stopping the application procedure is very common in this types of procedures and that it will work closely with all relevant stakeholders to procure the relevant data to finalize the procedure. This indicates good will on the side of the EU authorities to wrap up the applications relating CBD in a way most favorable to all stakeholders, including consumers.

*2023 Update*

New Common Agricultural Policy for the EU

On 1 January 2023 a new Common Agricultural Policy, also known as CAP came into effect in the EU. CAP is one of the pillars of the modern EU, and it establishes common standards for the import of certain agricultural products into the single EU market, as well as the conditions and standards for the benefits farmers can receive for cultivating specific crops, such as hemp.
Among other concerns it regulates the import of hemp into the EU market and as such governs the standards hemp has to achieve in order to be imported into the EU. The most noteworthy difference from the previous CAP is that the threshold of allowable THC in raw imported hemp was raised from 0,2 % back to 0,3 % as it was before 1999. In addition, EU farmers may be eligible for subsidies and other benefits for cultivating hemp; however, the THC level must remain below 0.3%, as the EU want to discourage the cultivation of hemp that could be used in the creation of illegal drugs.
Nonetheless, this is still a step ahead, the previous edition of CAP limited awards and similar privileges exclusively to hemp with less than 0,2 % THC concentration. Some EU member states, such as Italy and the Czech Republic, may permit the cultivation of hemp with a greater THC level, while others may choose a lower THC threshold for hemp cultivated on their territory.
In the subsequent chapters, we will discuss the status of Cannabinoids in each member state:

austria cannabis Laws

Austria – YES, With A Prescription

Cannabis (and subsequently Cannabinoids) are somewhat of a gray area in Austria. Possession of cannabis was decriminalized in 2016, but not legalized. This implies that possessing cannabis remains illegal, but instead of jail time, you will likely receive a fine.
Medicinal cannabis is a reality in Austria, meaning you can receive Cannabinoids with a doctor’s prescription.
However, selling cannabis is a considerably more serious offense that can result in incarceration.
Growing industrial hemp in Austria is authorized, but only to extract active compounds for therapeutic reasons.
Prior to 2018, it was permitted to sell cannabinoids in Austria so long as the THC concentration was less than 0.3%. Now, Cannabinoids in the form of a food supplement became prohibited but is still allowed to be sold as an aromatherapy product. Technically, it is permissible to sell cannabinoids oil in Austria as long as it is labeled “not for human consumption.”

belgium EU cannabis Laws

Belgium – Yes, With A Doctor’s Prescription

Cannabis is still illegal in Belgium although possessing it was decriminalized for adults over 18, only up to 3 grams. In general, the use of THC-containing goods is prohibited, but often tolerated and rarely prosecuted.
Medical cannabis and medications for therapeutic use with active ingredients, resulting from cannabis, are entirely lawful. While medical TCH has not gained as much traction as elsewhere in Europe, it is nevertheless a developing and expanding movement.
Industrial hemp has been farmed in Belgium for years, but for commercial purposes only. Growing and processing of any cannabis plant are forbidden, even with less than 0.2% THC content.
Cannabinoids has been sold both online and in stores for years and with virtually no complications, despite being prohibited owing to a legislation, issued in 1912. Also available for purchase are dried hemp blossoms.
To summarize: Though Belgium is more rigorous than other nations in Europe, it is regularly found in stores and may be acquired hassle-free. Cannabinoid oils and similar items are theoretically legally illegal but are commonly sold in stores. The situation in Belgium is rather confusing.

bulgaria EU cannabis Laws

Bulgeria – Yes

Bulgaria was the first European nation to legalize and permit the sale of cannabinoids, but only if they were derived from industrial hemp.

They managed to circumvent the above-mentioned EU legislation about novel foods by classifying Cannabinoids simply as food. That way, dealing with Cannabinoids products is completely legal.
To summarize: Cannabinoids products are entirely legal in Bulgaria, as long as they contain below 0.2% THC level.

croatia EU cannabis Laws

Croatia – Yes

Possession of minor quantities of THC-containing narcotics was decriminalized in Croatia, which means getting caught will only result in a fine.
All products, made from industrial hemp and Cannabinoids – containing products are legal, as long as they contain less than 0.2% THC. Cannabinoids oils and related food supplements can also be imported in the country.
To summarize: Cannabinoids products are entirely legal in Croatia, as long as they contain below 0.2% THC level.

cyprus EU cannabis Laws

Cyprus – Yes

Cyprus made Cannabinoids legal, but only if it comes from industrial hemp. Additionally, it cannot exceed 0.2% THC at any phase in its manufacture. Additionally, it is permissible to go to Cyprus with Cannabinoids oil purchased in the United Kingdom.
Cannabinoids products are totally lawful in Cyprus as long as their THC level does not exceed 0.2% at any point throughout production.

czech EU cannabis Laws

Czech Republic/Czechia – Yes


When it comes to cannabis, the Czech Republic is one of the most permissive in the entire of Europe, where recreational cannabis was decriminalized years ago. Possession of up to 10 grams and cultivation of 5 plants or less will only result in a small fine.
According to state law, cannabis products with less than 0.3% THC are authorized. This indicates that the and consumption of Cannabinoids oil is entirely legal in Czech Republic.


To summarize: Cannabinoids products are entirely legal in the Czech Republic, as long as they contain below 0.3% THC.

Denmark EU cannabis Laws

Denmark – Yes


In recent years, the use of Cannabinoids oil and comparable cannabis products has increased. With the rise in familiarity and use in Denmark, several adjustments in rules have occurred, but they made the concept of what’s lawful and what isn’t fairly confusing.
The whole legal status in Denmark regarding Cannabinoids products is kind of a grey area. Since July 2018, the cannabis-derived goods with below 0.2% THC levels are no longer subject to the regulations surrounding drug use and possession. In terms of rules, these products are now classified as medicinal and food products.
Because of that, it is not totally apparent if Cannabinoids oil with indicated medicinal benefits would be deemed a food supplement or a prescription pharmaceutical.
Despite this legal ambiguity, Cannabinoids oil is being sold hassle-free in both online and offline outlets. However, this is only true for products under the 0.2% content level, as any product over that is still unlawful.


Cannabinoids oil and similar products can be purchased without difficulty in Denmark. This is only relevant for items, having less than 0.2% THC.

estonia EU cannabis Laws

Estonia – Yes

In Estonia, recreational cannabis is decriminalized, where possession up to 7.5 grams will merely result in a fine. Possessing and distributing large amounts of cannabis still remains illegal.
Dealing with medical cannabis is authorized, but only with a special permit.
The country made Cannabinoids legal, but it must not exceed 0.2% THC level.


Cannabinoids products are entirely lawful in Estonia so long as they contain less than 0.2% THC.

finland EU canmabis Laws

Finland – Yes, With Prescription

Finland legalized cannabinoids, but items containing cannabinoids are considered a medicine and require a doctor’s prescription. Any other cannabis derivatives are banned and though it’s not typically enforced, punishments for even little possession can be extremely harsh.


To summarize: Cannabinoids oil is only authorized in Finland with a doctor’s prescription.

france EU cannabis Laws

France – Yes 

*Update 2023*

The European Court of Justice found that France’s ban on the importation of Cannabinoids products manufactured legitimately in EU member states violates EU law. In particular, the French government attempted to ban all goods derived from the blossoms of the hemp stem, despite the fact that their THC content was below the authorized threshold. As Cannabinoids cannot be classified as a narcotic, the European Court of Justice  ruled that such a restriction is not permissible and that authorities must produce solid scientific evidence that Cannabinoids is hazardous.

This might be a game changer in the Cannabinoids industry as France is a huge market in itself and growth in France can contribute to quick growth of the Cannabinoids market across all of the EU. It seems that France is finally willing to comply with the judgements of the European Court of Justice and the import of Cannabinoids oil into France is now allowed. In response to the decision, the French courts followed the European Court of Justice and found that an outright ban on hemp products derived from the plant’s bloom would be disproportionate.  The legal status of Cannabinoids oil and medical cannabis is identical to other western European countries.
Possession of cannabis has been decriminalized and is penalized merely with a fine.
Cannabinoids oil is entirely legal and can be sold in stores and online as long as its THC level does not exceed 0.3%.

To summarize: Cannabinoids oil is entirely legal in France, as long as it contains below 0.3% THC.

germany EU cannabis Laws

Germany – Yes

Germany was amongst the most liberal countries in the EU when it comes to accepting cannabis, which does show on its current legal status regarding Cannabinoids oil. As long as the THC level does not exceed 0.2%, the sale and purchase of cannabis is entirely lawful.
If you’re interested in the details of the Cannabinoids oil market in Germany, we suggest reading this article.

*Update 2023*

The German Cannabinoids market has seen quite an upheaval in recent months and the situation is sadly uncertain. In October 2022 two men were convicted with a final ruling of a Federal Court of Justice for selling 60 kg of industrial hemp with less than 0,2 % of THC but rich in Cannabinoids to a wholesaler who then resold the Cannabinoids products to local Cannabinoids shops. The court argued that the sold hemp could be considered a controlled substance, despite the fact that it was manufactured legally in Spain.
Nonetheless, the government immediately replied with a regulation that would make it clear that only hemp with a THC level exceeding 0,3 % should be considered as a narcotic drug.
The law might go even further and potentially legalize recreational use of marijuana.
The developments in Germany are absolutely something you should follow closely as it is the largest market in the EU and it wields major influence over policy decisions in many other member states.

greece EU cannabis Laws

Greece – Yes

Greece had made Cannabinoids legal, but only if it doesn’t surpass 0.2% THC concentration level throughout its manufacture. It is also permissible to go to Greece with Cannabinoids oil, obtained in the United Kingdom.


To summarize: Cannabinoids products are entirely legal in Greece, as long as they don’t surpass the 0.2% threshold of THC levels at any step of manufacture.
If you’re curious in the intricacies of Greece’s legal status of Cannabinoids, you may read more in this article.

hungary EU cannabis Laws

Hungary – Yes

Cannabinoids are legal in Hungary. In actuality, the status surrounding Cannabinoids arethe same as in Greece.
To summarize: Cannabinoids products are entirely legal in Hungary, as long as they don’t breach the 0.2% threshold of THC content at any step of manufacture.

ireland EU cannabis Laws

Ireland – Yes

In Ireland, Cannabinoids arelegal, however it is still somewhat of a hazy area.

*UPDATE 2023*

Ireland is one of the few EU member states that seem to be going towards the consensus of liberalizing and harmonizing the thriving EU Cannabinoids market. In an unprecedented decision, the High Court of Ireland declared at the end of 2022 that Cannabinoids goods containing any trace of THC are to be classed as narcotic narcotics and so prohibited.
Consequently this means that now only Cannabinoids products that do not contain THC are legal in Ireland as per the court judgement of the High Court. The judgement generated a massive outrage among the Ireland Cannabinoids community, which has begun legal processes and lobbying efforts to overturn the decision. Thus, the situation is rather uncertain, and we advise care when selling or purchasing cannabinoids products in Ireland.

 

Italy EU cannabis Laws

Italy – Yes

Cannabinoid oil derived from industrial hemp is permitted in Italy. It must also not surpass the 0.6% THC level at any time in its manufacture, which is much more than what’s allowed in other nations in Europe.
Hemp farming is also permitted in Italy.
Cannabinoids products are entirely lawful in Italy as long as they do not exceed the 0.6% THC threshold at any point during production.

latvia-flag-small

Latvia – Yes

In Latvia, Cannabinoids arelawful, but only if it doesn’t surpass 0.2% THC concentration level during its manufacture. It is also permissible to go to Latvia with Cannabinoids oil, obtained in the UK.
To summarize: Cannabinoids products are fully legal in Latvia, as long as they don’t reach 0.2% levels of THC concentration at any phase of manufacture.

lithuania-flag-small

Lithuania – Yes

Cannabinoids are legal in Lithuania. In truth, the status surrounding Cannabinoids arethe same as in Latvia.

To summarize: Cannabinoids products are fully legal in Lithuania, as long as they don’t break a 0.2% threshold of THC levels at any step of manufacture.

luxembourg-flag-small

Luxembourg – Yes

Cannabinoids are legal in Luxembourg. In actuality, the status is the same as in Latvia, with the main exception in the THC levels. Luxembourg admits a maximum of 0.3% THC.

To summarize: Cannabinoids products are completely legal in Lithuania, as long as they don’t surpass 0.3% threshold of THC levels at any point in production.

malta-flag-small

Malta – Yes, With A Prescription


Possession of cannabis is decriminalized in Malta for quantities up to 3.5 grams.
Malta made Cannabinoids legal, but only for medical purposes, which means it is only available with a doctor’s prescription.

To summarize: Cannabinoids oil is permitted in Malta, but only with a prescription.

netherlands-flag-small

The Netherlands – Yes

Among all the countries throughout the world, the Netherlands has long been one of the most permissive countries, when it comes to cannabis. Recreational use of cannabis has been decriminalized, and its sale and usage are generally accepted, but only in regulated coffee shops.

Technically speaking, Cannabinoids arelegal, but Cannabinoids oil is illegal, because of a detail in law, stating that Cannabinoids shouldn’t be isolated from the cannabis plant. Despite this specific law, Cannabinoids arewidely available in the Netherlands, online as well as in stores.

To summarize: In the Netherlands, Cannabinoids arelegal, and while Cannabinoids oil is technically illegal, it is widely available.

netherlands-flag-small

Poland – Yes

Formerly, the perception in Poland regarding illicit substances was quite unfavorable, and the same was true for cannabis. Fortunately, this has changed for the better in recent years.
Poland produced Cannabinoids, but only if the THC content did not exceed 0.2% during manufacture. It is also permitted to travel to Poland with Cannabinoids oil, bought in the UK.
To summarize: Cannabinoids products are fully legal in Poland, as long as they don’t reach 0.2% levels of THC at any phase of manufacture.

*AMENDMENT 2023*

The Polish government revised the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction so that now Cannabinoids products are lawful as long as the amounts of THC do not surpass 0,3 %.

portugal cannabis Laws

Portugal – Yes, on Prescription

In Portugal, the recreational use of cannabis is decriminalized — up to 25 grams. Cannabinoids arealso legal, but because it is considered a medicine, it can only be acquired through a doctor’s prescription.
To summarize: Cannabinoids oil is permitted in Portugal, but only with a prescription.

romania cannabis Laws

Romania – Yes

Cannabinoids are entirely legal in Romania, as long as it doesn’t above a 0.2% threshold of THC levels.

slovakia cannabis Laws

Slovakia – Yes

*2021 Update*

In March 2021, Slovakia removed Cannabinoids from the list of narcotic substances.
Starting May 2021, the selling of Cannabinoids arepermitted in all forms except as a food additive. This move makes Cannabinoids totally legal all across the European Union, however Cannabinoids still awaits to be authorised for human use.

slovenia cannabis Laws

 

Slovenia – Yes


Cannabis use and possession for recreational purposes have been decriminalized in Slovenia, but are still penalized by a fine.
Regarding the legality of cannabinoids, their use and sale are permitted under the condition that the THC content does not exceed 0.2%.
Additionally, we would like to note that Essentia Pura is headquartered in Slovenia. We are also evidence of the legality of cannabinoids in Slovenia due to the fact that we produce cannabis-derived cannabinoids oil and similar items.
To summarize: Cannabinoids products are completely legal in Slovenia, as long as they don’t surpass 0.2% levels of THC at any point in production.

spain canabis Laws

Spain – Yes

Spain is also fairly liberal when it comes to cannabis. By legislation, cultivating cannabis for personal use is legal.
Despite this rule, it is forbidden to offer Cannabinoids products as consumables. However, they can be sold as cosmetics. Therefore, it is entirely legal to consume and sell Cannabinoids oil, as long as it’s labelled “for external use only”.
In addition to the required label, Cannabinoids oil supplied in Spain must have less than 0.2% THC.


To summarize: Cannabinoids oil is completely legal in Spain, as long as it doesn’t surpass a 0.2% threshold of THC levels, and is labelled as a cosmetics product.

sweden cannabis Laws

Sweden – Yes

Sweden has made Cannabinoids legal but unlike other European countries, it can’t contain any THC. Therefore, only THC-free Cannabinoids oil can openly be marketed and used.
To summarize: Cannabinoids products are fully legal in Sweden, as long as they don’t include any THC.

united-kingdom cannabis Laws

United Kingdom – Yes

Though the UK is not a part of the European Union anymore, we still think it’s necessary to include it in this list, as the markets are still interconnected and the Cannabinoids oil sale in London is booming.
The UK had made Cannabinoids legal but unlike some of the other European countries, it can’t contain any THC. Therefore, only THC-free Cannabinoids oil can openly be marketed and used.
Growing hemp is also allowed in the UK, but only with a specific authorization.
To summarize: Cannabinoids oil is fully lawful in the UK, as long as it is completely THC-free.

Conclusion

As Cannabinoids are getting more and more popular, countries around the world have started accepting it. And much like other countries, so has the EU.

We’ve established that the legal position of Cannabinoids in the EU isn’t the most clear matter. Each country has its own law, which defines the way they deal with Cannabinoids and cannabis extracts in general. Even if the EU is striving to harmonize the legislation, the process is fairly slow.

wHowever, it’s safe to say that throughout the rest of the EU, Cannabinoids oil and other related cannabis products are lawful. Yes, some countries have a peculiar rule or regulation, making the legality of Cannabinoids rather uncertain. With Slovakia changing its mind in 2020 you can now legally buy Cannabinoids oil in every member of the EU – on the other hand, this also means you can try to sell Cannabinoids oil in every member state of the EU, though you should always keep in mind the peculiarities of the legal landscape in each country. If Disclaimer: The laws and regulations on this topic are continually changing, which means that any material on this topic may quickly become outdated. Moreover, we at Essentia Pura do not guarantee the veracity of the facts, as this post is for informational reasons only. However, it should provide you a clear summary of the current position in the EU and act as an excellent starting point for further detailed investigation. We cannot stress enough the need of full and proper understanding on this subject for Cannabinoids sellers as well as customers.

If You Are Interested In Buying Wholesale Cannabinoids Products, Please Contact Us, Or Call Us: +31 88 440 29 66 – We’d Be Happy To Answer Any Additional Questions.

Disclaimer: The laws and regulations on this topic are continually changing, which means that any information on this topic might quickly become outdated. Moreover, we at Essentia Pura do not guarantee the veracity of the facts, as this post is for informational reasons only. However, it should provide you a clear summary of the current position in the EU and act as an excellent starting point for further detailed investigation. We cannot emphasize enough how vital it is for both suppliers and buyers of cannabinoids to have complete and accurate understanding of this topic.

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