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Absinthe Postcard - Betina Collection

Since 2004 many international laws have changed. Below are some countries’ status in regards to absinthe:

Absinthe is legal and common in Brazil. Thujone-containing absinthe is available in almost all stores and supermarkets including the brands: Camargo (Brazilian), Lautrec (Brazilian), Pere Kerman's (French), and Neto Costa (Portuguese). The law in Brazil requires that Absinthe be less than 55% alcohol and at most 10mg/kg thujone, but it's not difficult to find other absinthes like Hapsburg (85% alcohol).

As of March 2007, thujone-containing absinthe is regulated by the Provinces, with the central government's agency Health Canada, only providing non-binding guidelines to each Province's liquor board. It appears that low-thujone absinthe (< 5mg/liter) is now available in every Province. Higher thujone content absinthe seems to be available in BC, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Quebec. (Ontario & Quebec allow 10ppm thujone, BC has no limit). All other provinces have laws against thujone-containing absinthe. Generally, alcoholic products must be individually approved for retail sale in Canada and are thus tightly controlled by Provincial liquor boards.

Czech Republic:
Absinthe is legal and common in the Czech Republic. Thujone-containing absinthe is available in stores including Tesco, a large supermarket chain.

Absinthe is legal in Denmark and is commonly available in liquor stores.

The sale of Absinthe has been prohibited in France since March 16, 1915. In 1988, a law was passed which specified that the 1915 law only applied to products that do not comply with European Union regulations on thujone content and products which explicitly call themselves "absinthe". Thujone-containing beverages are now available, often labeled as "spiritueux à base de plantes d'absinthe." Higher thujone content absinthes are also produced in France for export.

Thujone-containing absinthe available at bars and stores in Germany, in 2002 it is quite popular in some parts of Germany and Austria

Absinthe became legally available in Hungary in early 2004 but that quality and potency is generally low.

Thujone-containing absinthe sold in some liquor stores in 2004.

Thujone-containing absinthe is not legal to sell in the Republic of Ireland, although personal importation is not blocked.

Thujone-containing absinthe sold in some Smartshops.

Absinthe is available in bars and clubs.

1909 ban on absinthe sales lifted Jul 2004. Thujone-containing absinthe sold in liquor stores, as long as thujone quantity remain within European-accepted levels.

New Zealand:
Thujone-containing absinthe sold in liquor stores.

Absinthe is legal in Norway and available in liquor stores but only with low thujone content.

Absinthe is not available in stores and presumed illegal.

Thujone-containing absinthe sold in liquor stores, bars, clubs, and supermarkets.

Thujone-containing absinthe (with as much as 50-75 mg thujone) available, mostly in stores geared towards foreigners.

Thujone-containing absinthe and absinthe above 50% alcohol is banned for sale in Serbia. Lower quality French and Czech absinthes are available.

Absinthe is legal and common in Slovakia. Thujone-containing absinthe is available in stores.

Thujone-containing absinthe widely available. Absinthe has a deep history in the Northern Catalan region encompassing Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida, and a section of the Pyrenees Mountains. While the drink was never officially banned in Spain, it fell out of favor since the early 1940s to but since 2007 it has enjoyed a significant resurgence in the country.

Absinthe sold in all liquor stores must be marked as containing wormwood extract. Absinthe can be purchased in most liquor stores since EU laws allow sales of absinthe below a specific thujone level. Products are labeled with "Spiriteux aux extraits de plantes d'absinthe" and list wormwood as an ingredient on the back label.

In June, 2004, the Swiss parliament voted to end a 96-year ban on absinthe. Although absinthe had been available in most of Europe for 20 years, it had remained outlawed in Switzerland until June 14, 2004.

Thujone-containing absinthe is banned in Turkey.

The prevailing consensus of interpretation of United States of America and regulations among American absinthe connoisseurs is that, with the revision of thujone levels by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), it is now legal to purchase such a product for personal use in the U.S.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food and beverages that contain Artemisia species must be thujone free. Thujone free is defined as containing less than 10ppm thujone. There is no corresponding US Drug Administration (DEA) regulation. Regarding importation of absinthe, U.S. And Border Protection allows importation of absinthe products subject to the following restrictions:
The product must be thujone-free as described above,
The name "absinthe" can neither be the brand name nor stand alone on the label, and
The packaging cannot "project images of hallucinogenic, psychotropic or mind-altering effects."
Absinthe imported in violation of these regulations can be seized.
Absinthe can be and occasionally is seized by United States Customs if it appears to be for human consumption.
In 2007, TTB relaxed the US absinthe ban, and has now approved over 50 brands for sale. These brands must pass TTB testing. The TTB considers a product to be thujone-free if the FDA’s test measures less than 10ppm (equal to 10 mg/kg) thujone.


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