Business owners have called for clarification over whether CBD shops can remain open as ‘essential’ stores when the UK goes into lockdown this week.
A CBD company has claimed that Government guidelines are ‘unclear’ about whether the shop will have to close when the country goes into a second lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus on Thursday 5 November.
The guidance states that all ‘non-essential retail’, including clothing and homeware stores, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and market stalls selling non-essential goods must close.
However, businesses providing ‘essential services’ and goods such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, hardware stores, building merchants and off-licences can remain open.
Claire Macauley, who runs Naturally North CBD on Killingworth Road in Newcastle upon Tyne says Trading Standards have been unable to give her any definitive clarification on whether she must close on Thursday or risk facing a fine.
CBD is not classed as a novel food by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) until after the deadline in March 2021. But Claire pointed out that she does in fact sell food and drinks in the store.
Although she can continue to operate through her website, she told Cannabis Health that many of her customers are elderly and do not shop online.
“The stigma of CBD being linked to cannabis is breaking down and more and more, and elderly people are now taking it for pain and joint issues, but a lot of the older generation don’t shop online,” she said.
“It’s easy to say I can still operate online, but my customers like to come in and discuss what they are taking and their dosage face to face.”
Claire contacted Trading Standards earlier this week but their advice is to ‘follow Government guidance’.
“The guidance says that health stores and food shops can stay open,” continued Claire.
“I sell coffee, tea and foodstuffs that contain CBD, but I’m not classed as a health food shop yet because CBD has not yet been regulated by the FSA.
“Nobody can give me clarification on whether I can stay open or have to close, because of that ambiguity the chances are I will have to shut or face fines.”
Naturally North CBD is advertised in the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, where Claire says many of her customers are patients.
While brands are not permitted to make medical claims, a large proportion of her clients are using CBD to help a variety of health conditions and since the last lockdown she says she has seen a huge surge in the number of people using her products to help manage anxiety.
“We are actually assisting the NHS,” she added.
“The fact that the hospital is happy to carry my advertisements, but the Government won’t allow me to stay open, doesn’t make sense.”
Trading Standards said they were unable to comment until further clarification has been provided by the Government.
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