An Update On British CBD and the Novel Food Regulations in EU

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The CBD market was built from the ground up by small British businesses, but it’s about to be stolen by government-backed companies.

(This is an ‘Opinion‘ article, written by one of our readers. All the statements in this article are the personal opinions of the author and not representative of CBD Testers. Click HERE to learn how to get your article published)

Over about the last five years,
small British businesses have built the CBD market
from zero to hundreds of millions in annual sales. It’s been driven by rapidly
changing attitudes towards cannabis and a realization that many of its
medicinal benefits could be available legally by using traditional hemp

Big business,
the established supplement and health food companies weren’t interested. They
saw the stigma around cannabis before they saw the changing attitudes.

Now it’s all very different. Millions of people
are using CBD. All the big multiples are stocking it. It’s become a media
fascination and many people say they gain great benefit from it. Suddenly, big
business and all the regulators are interested. Suddenly those who weren’t
bothered previously are cautioning about all sorts of dangers and concerns.

Although evidence of CBD or hemp
causing any harm is minimal at best, they clearly they don’t think these small,
independent businesses can be trusted anymore. A likely scenario is that they
want a slice of the action – or possibly all of the action if they can get
their chums in government and the bureaucracy to step in and assist with their

In fact the British CBD
industry has been a model of responsible self-regulation. Two trade
associations, the CTA and CannaPro, represent virtually all the leading UK
suppliers and maintain high levels of quality control and trading standards,
including regular reporting of non-compliant businesses to the MHRA.

But in June this year, the Centre
for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) published a sensational report alleging that most of the CBD
on the market was very poor quality
contained illegal levels of THC and some contained no CBD at all. Its report
was presented as some sort of independent, academic study that should be
regarded as science. But was it really? Or was it a cheap marketing stunt? Interestingly
enough, just a few weeks later it announced that
all its members’ products were good quality and there was no problem with them.

Now the CMC has thrown itself in with the EU and is backing the classification of British CBD products as ‘novel foods’, meaning that any business selling CBD would have to apply for an authorization at a cost of at least £250,000 in a process taking perhaps two years to complete. The CMC has also aligned itself with an interpretation of the law on THC levels in CBD products which is completely at odds with the established industry. It has sided with the Home Office saying that there cannot be any THC at all, whereas the industry relies on a definition of ‘exempt products’ in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 which permits up to 1mg of THC in each container.

As Brexit approaches, the Food
Standards Agency (FSA) is expected to issue guidance on enforcement of the
novel foods classification. If it acts before Brexit then the position will be
carried over in the Withdrawal Agreement. And now the CMC has launched yet
another trade body, the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry, (ACI) which it is implying will enable CBD suppliers to
enjoy a ‘grace period’ from FSA enforcement.

It would be unlawful for the FSA to make any arrangements or offer any ‘grace period’ to CMC or ACI members that is not available to any other business. At the moment, the CMC/ACI is pushing it with the requirement to sign up to membership at a cost said to be between £10,000 and £50,000 per year, completely prohibitive for the small businesses that have worked so hard to develop this industry.

The CMC appeared sometime in 2018
announcing itself as the UK’s first and only industry membership body for
businesses and investors operating in cannabis based medicinal products (CBMPs)
and cannabidiol (CBD) wellness markets.
It’s actually the fifth or sixth to
set itself up as a trade body in this market and it’s certainly not the only.
Between them, the CTA and CannaPro represent hundreds of businesses with
millions of satisfied customers. The CMC has only a handful of members.

What’s important to note is that the
CMC/ACI has a large financial pool from its backer, the multimillionaire Paul
Birch as well as a great deal of influence from Steve Moore, who knows all the
right people in all the establishment and has a lot of pull. In just a few
short months a fortune has been funneled into PR and media relations and made
itself the go to source for anything on medicinal cannabis and CBD. It has also
bought and paid for a large number of highly qualified people with impressive
credentials who inevitably carry great weight with the authorities. Its
ambitions are clear.

What are the CMC’s intentions? Do
they plan to destroy the small businesses that built this market and seize it
all for itself –  and it looks as though it may well succeed?

CannaPro spoke with the FSA earlier
this week. For the moment, the FSA cannot act as we are in election ‘purdah’,
the civil service can’t really do anything except keep the status quo but that
will all change after the election. Then, depending on the new government, it
may move rapidly to commence enforcement. What this will mean is impossible to
predict but almost certainly the multiples will take stock off the shelves
unless some interim arrangements are agreed. Those with retail premises will be
in the most immediate danger, online sellers will be in a better position but
if Trading Standards officers try to seize stock, they have extraordinary
powers and trying to obstruct them may result in arrest.

From where I stand, the novel foods
classification is fake and a lot of evidence has been presented to prove this
but it is simply being dismissed. It’s rather like the way the medical
establishment dismisses the evidence on medicinal cannabis. If these
institutions don’t like evidence they simply ignore it. For obvious reasons, it
suits the CMC to get behind the novel food scam but the result for consumers
will be a lot less choice and probably substantial price rises. It’s also very
bad news for British CBD businesses. A lot of people are likely to lose their

Read more about Novel Food Status here.

Mike Harlington from CTA has provided a reply to this article, which you can read in the comment section below. We are awaiting a response from the CMC.

(This is an ‘Opinion‘ article, written by one of our readers. All the statements in this article are the personal opinions of the author and not representative of CBD Testers. Click HERE to learn how to get your article published)

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The post An Update On British CBD and the Novel Food Regulations in EU appeared first on CBD Testers.

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