For more than a decade, CBD products have been sold online and on every high street in the UK without a clear legal and regulatory framework. The Home Office is responsible for developing the legal structure, while the Food Standards Agency (FSA) oversees the regulatory aspects related to food safety.
The FSA has accepted its responsibility. In 2020 it unveiled plans to regulate CBD as a food product, prompting numerous companies to invest substantial funds into the research required by the Novel Foods process initiated by the FSA.
The Home Office has yet to act. Throughout this process, it has been aware of the growth of this market and has acknowledged the necessity of establishing a legal framework for CBD products within which it can operate. To that end in January 2021 it sought advice from the Government’s Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) regarding the required amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act to accommodate sales of CBD.
The ACMD submitted a comprehensive report in December 2021, setting out clear recommendations to provide legal clarity. However, since then, the Home Office has not provided any such clarifications or further updates for the industry.
The uncertainty created by this lack of clarity has left the CBD industry in limbo, and is now making it impossible for the FSA to process food safety authorisations.
Furthermore, recent actions taken by the Home Office against an established CBD company have highlighted the vulnerability of all businesses operating in this sector.
On behalf of the CBD industry and millions of consumers, we urgently call on the Home Office to establish a legal framework that allows businesses to operate securely, safely and sustainably within the sector.
CBD is a chemical found naturally within the cannabis plant. It is widely available in a range of products via the high street and online.
CBD products are regulated by the Food Standards Agency in England and Wales. They must be on the FSA’s official CBD register. The FSA recommends a maximum daily intake of 70mg.
CBD industry emerges, reaching estimated sales of £690M.
Used by 27% of the UK population.
The FSA gives the CBD industry a deadline of 31 March 2021 to submit valid novel food authorisation applications.
The Home Office revokes license of prominent CBD company, stating: “CBD in its pure form is not a controlled drug, but if a CBD product contains THC or other controlled cannabinoids then it is likely that the product would be controlled.”
The Home Office’s lack of response has left businesses seeking approval from the FSA in jeopardy due to the absence of a clear legal framework.
#SaveOurCBD signatories urge the Home Office to provide immediate clarification regarding the legal framework within which the consumer cannabinoid industry operates, drawing on the expert advice already provided by the ACMD.
We understand the complexities the Home Office must navigate concerning compliance with the Misuse of Drugs Act. Nevertheless, we strongly assert that businesses have conducted themselves in a socially responsible way throughout this period. Therefore, we firmly believe there is no valid reason why the Home Office cannot provide the much-needed legal clarity the industry urgently seeks.
We invite the Home Office to address this issue as a matter of urgency.