London—The UK consumer cannabinoid (CBD) industry issued a plea calling on the Home Office to put in place a legal framework to cover the sale of CBD products. The Home Office committed to doing this in January 2021, according to the #SaveOurCBD campaign, a newly launched collective effort by businesses, industry leaders, and advocates in the CBD sector that is seeking clarity and a legal framework for the UK CBD industry.
Path to a legal framework for the UK CBD Industry
In February 2020, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) released detailed plans to regulate CBD as a food product.
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, according to a press release.
In December 2021, following a year-long public consultation and public call for evidence followed, ACMD submitted a report to the Home Office outlining recommendations for an appropriate legal framework to accommodate CBD sales.
As of August 2023, the Home Office has not taken any further action or provided any legal clarity, according to the #SaveOurCBD campaign, which says the resulting uncertainty "now constitutes an existential threat to the future of over 400 companies who supply over 12,000 products consumed by 18 million adults in the UK, jeopardizing a market estimated to be worth £690 million."
In addition, according to the campaign, the lack of legal clarity is preventing the FSA from granting Novel Food authorizations. And this, they add, is stalling businesses' operations and impeding innovation. Adding to the collective's concerns: Recent actions taken by the Home Office against a well-established CBD company "have exposed the vulnerability of every business operating in this sector."
What the #SaveOurCBD campaign is seeking:
The collective says CBD products have become a vital part of the lives of millions of consumers, with more than 12,000 products permitted for sale by the FSA, which regulates over-the-counter CBD products in England and Wales, recommending a maximum daily intake of 70mg. The group's ask: “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.”
Steve Moore, a representative of the #SaveOurCBD campaign and Lead Counsel for The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry says: "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."