CBD companies are breathing a collective sigh of relief after Europe’s top court paved the way for a bright future on the continent.
The UK industry has celebrated confirmation from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on Thursday 20 November, that CBD could not be considered a narcotic drug.
In the verdict of the KanaVape case, the CJEU ruled that EU states may not prohibit the marketing of CBD cannabinoid, as it is not a drug within the UN’s Single Convention on narcotic drugs.
It also concluded that CBD does not appear to have any ‘harmful effects’ on health.
The move will have huge ramifications throughout the European CBD sector, but UK companies were also quick to respond to the announcement, which is expected to boost consumer confidence and pave the way for industry growth.
“The passing of this ruling is a huge sigh of relief for the CBD community,” said Joachim Gartner, co-founder of CBD health food brand, Moods & Bears.
“Considering CBD’s well-documented health benefits, it’s baffling that prohibiting CBD was ever up for debate to begin with.”
Joachim went on to welcome the reassurance that UK companies would be able to trade with the EU moving forward.
He added: “After months of uncertainty, we have reassurance for the future of how we can trade and operate in EU member states. Not only is this great for businesses like mine but also for consumers across Europe using holistic cannabidiol products to help manage the anxiety much of us have felt throughout this year. We are very happy.”
Mike Peates founder of CBD brand Medivita also reacted to the news, by saying he was ‘delighted’.
Mike commented: “I think this is a great step in the right direction and should go a long way to boosting consumer confidence. I’m delighted that one of the clouds hanging over the industry has been lifted.”
Fos Farace, co-owner of UK-based Moxmilk, said: “With the year we’ve had, CBD has taken a bit of a backseat to other more urgent purchases. Some of our repeat customers have lost their jobs, have been furloughed, or simply don’t see CBD as an essential item.
“This will help place us in a bona fide, guaranteed category of helpful and non-narcotic natural supplements, where the end user won’t have to simply rely on our word, but can now have the backing of the CJEU.”
The European Commission’s (EC) decision to potentially classify CBD as a narcotic is now likely to be overturned to reopen the pathway to novel food regulations.
In a statement, the UK’s Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) said the ruling meant companies could now expect a clearer route to achieving compliance across the EU, with the harmonisation of CBD regulations finally becoming a reality.
“This is clearly an important decision for the European CBD industry, ” said Adela Williams, Partner at Arnold & Porter, ACI’s legal counsel.
“The EU’s highest court has decided that EU member states may not prohibit the marketing of CBD products lawfully supplied in other member states unless a real risk to public health has been demonstrated. Furthermore, the European Court has confirmed that CBD should not be classified as a narcotic under the 1961 UN Convention on narcotics, removing an obstacle to the continued assessment of novel food applications relating to CBD products.”
UK companies have until March 31, 2021 to submit their applications for novel food status, as set out in the European Food Standards Agency guidelines.
The ACI said it would be pursuing clarification from EC on their position following the ruling.
Dr Parveen Bhatarah, regulatory and compliance lead at the ACI added: “This is a step in the right direction for the future of the CBD industry. We look forward to hearing the EC’s decision and being in a position to help our members grow their businesses across Europe.”
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