Just weeks away from the UK CBD industry becoming ‘legitimised’ through the Novel Food regulatory framework, the Home Office now requires all companies importing bulk CBD isolates or distillates to secure a Schedule One Controlled-Drug licence, normally only used by large medicinal cannabis companies for scientific research purposes. The move follows a request raised by Police and Justice Minister, Kit Malthouse, who asked for further clarity on the legality of acceptable ‘trace’ levels of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) in CBD products.
Steve Oliver, Co-Founder of The Canna Consultants told BusinessCann “This will have the potential to label businesses unlawful overnight. It’s equivalent to dropping a bomb on the industry and is effectively telling all CBD businesses, which have previously believed that they were operating legally, that they are now being unlawful.”
The UK CBD industry has grown over the last couple of years, and to control the levels of THC within CBD products the Home Office has allowed a ‘lawful’ trace element of THC to be measured at 1mg per pack, however, this is now being re-examined by the Home Office. Phillip Glyn, Commercial Director of Vitality CBD, said: “A percentage marker for THC would be a positive development for the industry. But there has to be an element of common sense to this; the 0.01% threshold would alleviate the pressure, but one-hundredth of a milligram is just not viable. At these extremely low levels, there are no psychoactive effects from THC, as it is.”
In January, Mr Malthouse sent a letter to UK regulators, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), asking them to draw up new guidelines on THC levels, with options to increase or decrease permitted ‘trace’ levels. Mr Malthouse’s proposed levels range from 0.01% THC to 0.0001%. This is particularly worrying for businesses as it would make it practically impossible to remove all THC, at a level down to one-hundredth of a milligram.
Cannabis lawyer Robert Jappie, a partner at Ince, said: “The lack of clarity on the 1mg rule has been an issue for the CBD industry for a number of years. I would absolutely welcome Home Office clarity on minor THC components in CBD products, but it has to be done in a way that is supportive of the industry.”