CBD industry calls on UK government for improved sector regulation

A combined plea from the UK consumer cannabinoid industry, which includes applications within confectionery, has called on the government’s Home Office department to urgently create safeguards for the sector with a legal framework covering sales of CBD ranges, writes Neill Barston.

As industry observers noted, pledges by the present Conservative administration had been made in 2021 on the issue – with no agreement presently in place, leaving sector players, including manufacturers of specialist confectionery, effectively in limbo.

According to the newly-launched #SaveOurCBD campaign, the present market uncertainty constitutes “an existential threat to the future of over 400 companies” supplying over 12,000 products consumed by 18 million adults in the UK, jeopardising a market estimated to be worth £690 million.

“We call on the Home Office to provide urgent clarity regarding the establishment of a legal framework within which businesses can operate securely, safely, and responsibly,” said campaigners in their bid for regulatory support for the industry.

Moreover, industry consultancy firm Medic Pro recently offered analysis that confirmed the status of CBD products as being legal for sale in the UK, providing controlled active Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is limited to no more than 1mg per container, though gaining industry approval for product licences has proved challenging – taking up to one year, as well as costly – with companies facing the prospect of paying up to £50,000 to have their ranges scrutinised.

Notably, in February 2020 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) unveiled detailed plans to regulate CBD as a food product, an millions of pounds have since been invested in research by an industry eager to meet the highest food safety standards mandated by the Novel Foods process.

Significantly, as Confectionery Production has previously reported, the past few years have seen an explosion of products across the CBD space, including new series targeting the confectionery market – yet a perceived lack of regulation emerging or legal clarity has caused concern within the industry, with existing government regulations reportedly being drawn up before the advent of  a broader range of oil-based products that are now increasingly available.

In addition, as the group noted, in January 2021, the Home Office sought advice from the Government’s Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to make necessary amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act to accommodate the sale of CBD products. After a year-long public consultation and public call for evidence, ACMD submitted a comprehensive report to the Home Office in December 2021 outlining clear recommendations regarding what would constitute an appropriate legal framework to accommodate CBD sales.

As campaigners concluded, the absence of legal clarity now prevents the FSA from granting Novel Food authorisations, stalling businesses’ operations and impeding innovation in the sector. Recent actions taken by the Home Office against a well-established CBD company have exposed the vulnerability of every business operating in this sector.

Furthermore, as they added, the wider market, including over 12,000 products has become a key one for the industry, with regulators stating that over-the-counter sales of CBD products in England and Wales, should have a maximum daily intake of 70mg.

Steve Moore, a representative of the #SaveOurCBD campaign and Lead Counsel for The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry said: “We understand the complexities the Home Office faces, but businesses have consistently acted responsibly throughout this period. There is no valid reason why the Home Office cannot provide the much-needed legal clarity that the industry urgently seeks.”



Related content

Leave a reply

Confectionery Production