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Industry urged not to panic over Home Office stance on CBD

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Reports last week suggested that laws around bulk importing CBD could soon change

CBD companies have been urged not to panic as the Home Office insists its position on the cannabinoid has not changed. 

Several business owners expressed concern to Cannabis Health last week, following reports that all those importing bulk isolates or distillates, would need to apply for a Schedule One Controlled Drug Licence from the UK Home Office.

It came following a letter from Justice Minister Kit Malthouse to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) calling for further clarity on the legal levels of THC permitted in CBD products. 

The move was described as another ‘hurdle’ facing UK companies, just weeks away from the novel food application deadline, with some fearing the licence requirement would force them out of the industry. 

However, Robert Jappie, a cannabis lawyer and partner at Ince, told Cannabis Health that he does not believe companies have any reason to panic at this stage. 

Mr Jappie welcomed the letter from the Justice Minister as a “positive” move towards much-needed clarity around the 1mg THC rule.

“The 1mg rule needs addressing to bring clarity to the industry,” he said. 

“I generally considered the Malthouse letter to be quite positive, although its emergence was certainly a surprise.”

The letter, sent on 11 January, states that the Government wishes to “explore the possibility” of creating a specific exemption in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 for CBD products which contain “no more than a defined trace percentage of controlled cannabinoids.”

It proposes that the defined trace THC percentage in CBD products should be set at a level between 0.01 percent and 0.0001 percent by “weight per controlled cannabinoid”.

If the ACMD opts for the trace amount to be set at 0.01 percent, the legally permitted levels would actually increase, with a 50ml bottle containing 5mg of THC.

But the latter could have huge implications for companies selling full and broad-spectrum products, making it virtually impossible to remove all trace levels of THC to a legal amount. 

Malthouse adds that the precise level will be determined “following further scientific testing advice” and the Government currently has “no plans to look at the status of CBD itself under drug legislation”.

But understandably, the uncertainty around THC levels has caused concern in the industry.

Paul Shrive, founder of Leafline CBD, said a controlled drug licence – which can equate to tens of thousands, including the required documents for importing, handling and shipping products – was not feasible for smaller companies. 

“If it was feasible there is no denying that I would be in control of the whole process from seed to shelf as this is my craft and my passion, he said.

“But unless you are a big pharmaceutical business with a lot of money behind you, there are too many hurdles to get past. It’s almost impossible to get through it all and it seems like a system designed to make you fail.”

Shrive added: “Granted, if we were talking about cannabis based prescribed medication then of course, there are strict measures that need to be adhered to, but this is hemp, a plant which we have been working with since the dark ages and causes absolutely no harm to anyone, only good.”

However, according to Jappie, there is as of yet, no indication that CBD companies need to apply for the Schedule One licence.

“Given that companies have been encouraged to engage in the novel food process, it seems unlikely that the Home Office would suddenly impose licence requirements too,” he continued.

“I don’t think companies should panic about this. Novel Food sets a high benchmark for quality and safety standards in the UK. CBD has been placed into that regime and that should be sufficient to ensure that consumers are protected.”

In a statement to Cannabis Health, the Home Office confirmed its stance on CBD had not changed and it hoped the advice from the ACMD would “strengthen the law” and allow companies to create “safe and legitimate” CBD products more easily.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The legislation, and the Home Office’s position on CBD, has not changed. CBD, as an isolated substance, in its pure form, is not a controlled drug. 

“However if a produce contains THC or other controlled cannabinoids, then it is highly likely this product would be controlled.”

“We have asked the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to provide advice on how we can strengthen the law on consumer CBD products. We hope this advice will allow us to make sure the law is clear and that these products are safe for consumers so those who seek to create legitimate, safe CBD consumer products, are able to do so more easily.”

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Isle of Man launches medical cannabis export sector

The Isle of Man is open for business to the medical cannabis industry.

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The move could 250 new jobs and generate £3 million a year for the island

The Isle of Man government has declared it is open for business to the medical cannabis industry.

In a big to create 250 new jobs and generate £3 million a year for the island, policymakers want it to become ‘a world-leading exporter’.

Applications are now open for licences to produce and distribute treatments on the island, as well as to use it as an export base.

The island’s regulator – the Gambling Supervision Commission – has set out conditions for the licensing of high-THC cannabis and hemp.

Enterprise minister Laurence Skelly said: “The growing global medicinal cannabis market provides significant opportunity for economic development in the Isle of Man, and the new regulatory framework and guidance will offer stringent and flexible licensing of a broad range of cannabis products, which ranges from outdoor grown industrial hemp to indoor grown medicinal products.

“The Isle of Man Government has every confidence that the GSC will provide a world class regulatory structure required to regulate this new and complex industry.

The Isle of Man wants to be a major player in Europe’s growing medical cannabis industry.

“I am delighted to welcome licence applications and look forward to attracting quality businesses to the Island, transforming the cannabis export sector into a key contributor to the Isle of Man’s post-Covid economic recovery.”

The self-governing British Crown Dependency, which has a population of 83,000, approved new medical cannabis laws in January.

The island’s parliament – the Tynwald – moved to attract the industry to its shores after a public consultation showed 95 percent of residents were in favour of the policy.

Mark Rutherford, director of policy at the island’s regulator, said: “The GSC already has a sophisticated framework for supervising gambling.

‘We have worked carefully to apply the best of that framework to the risks in the new sector and we have educated ourselves in the technical areas that are new to us.

“What we now have will ensure that all stakeholders will be competent, crime free and capable of building a sector that is safe, trusted and efficient.

“As regulators, we aspire to put our regulatory umbrella above as many consumers as possible so that they can benefit from regulations that are well thought out and properly supervised.

“Years of prohibition mean that the markets in which our licensees will be participating are still in their infancy and still contain many uncertainties.

“To address this situation, it is our aim to ensure that consumers who purchase Isle of Man products will be able to understand exactly what their product contains through accurate labelling and independent testing.

“The GSC recognises there are many stakeholders in this newly created field and intends to extend its ethos of cooperation with other government authorities into its approach to cannabis regulation.”

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Always Pure Organics announces major expansion to meet demand

Construction is underway on a new 10,000 square foot warehouse

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The APO team has grown from three people to over 50 staff members

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Always Pure Organics has announced that construction is underway on its new 10,000 square foot warehouse as part of a major expansion, here they reveal all.

At Always Pure Organics, our mission is to accelerate the global access, acceptance and understanding of cannabinoids and their wide benefits.

We’re proud to take you ‘behind the scenes’, where you’ll meet our team and gain a further understanding of how we serve our clients and facilitate growth of the cannabinoid industry.

 

One of our latest projects involves expanding our Always Pure Organics facilities. Renovations began in early June and we are excited for the extra space that the expansion will afford our lab and operation teams.

Our CEO Gavin Ogilvie commented on the project: “We’re so proud of the growth we’ve achieved. In two and a half years the business has gone from three people working out of a bedroom to over 50 team members servicing 500 global clients.

“With this comes a responsibility to our customers and partners to continue to deliver the personal, quick and hands-on service that we have done historically. With the increasing demand placed on our operations and production teams this was becoming a mounting challenge. Therefore, we have invested heavily to overhaul and upsize our warehouse and clean rooms. This week we began the construction in our new 10,000 square foot warehouse.

“We want to offer the best products, with more variety, more quickly and with a better user experience than any of our competitors. This is just one step in achieving that.”

Always Pure Organics Specialist Manufacturer of Cannabis Based Products.

We offer the highest quality wholesale legal cannabis and cannabinoid products, as bulk ingredients, bulk products, white label, and bespoke formulations. This is coupled with regulatory and legal expertise and supported by delivery globally.

Our unique bespoke formulation products allow our customers to create their own product from scratch, whilst we provide the regulatory and product knowledge, as well as production of the product.

To find out more about how Always Pure Organics can support your business on its CBD journey visit alwayspureorganics.com or follow us on LinkedIn and YouTube.

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The UK cannabis veterans taking on the industry’s big beasts

AltoVerde wants to shake things up in the industry which it believes has gone from counter-culture to corporate.

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The company plans to open a 10,000+ square metre cultivation plant in Macedonia

Meet the UK executive and cannabis veteran, aiming to take on Europe and North America’s established industry titans.

Mitesh Makwana is the director of AltoVerde, a start up company looking to establish itself as one of the continent’s big players.

The race is on to put roots down in Europe with several countries expected to expand patient access in the coming years – and even open up adult use markets.

Huge companies from across the pond like Tilray, Aurora and Bedrocan have already got boots on the ground, buying up companies and starting operations in places like Denmark and Portugal.

AltoVerde is aiming to be the new kid on the block and wants to shake things up in an industry which it believes has gone from counter-culture to corporate.

Makwana told Cannabis Health: “It’s become a completely different scene. We know that there might be a view that us industry veterans aren’t ready to take on this new market but we just plan to get our heads down and get on with what we know best.

“We understand that there are big regulatory hurdles, but ultimately there is one goal: getting a good end product to consumers at a fair price.”

This team of ‘veterans’, some of whom have almost two decades experience in the industry, have been in the game since paraphernalia and souvenir seeds were the only way to make money out of cannabis in Europe.

Mitesh Makwana

But things are changing. The medical cannabis sector in Europe is forecast to explode over the next few years and companies set up and ready to go when liberalisation happens stand to make a fortune.

Makwana said: “The team and our roots set us apart from the rest of the industry.

“Many of the people involved with company have been active in this sector for several years, people who’ve spent years honing their expertise in cultivation, breeding, plantation management, clinical trials, chemistry and extraction.

“This plant has a lot of amazing properties and we’re passionate about unlocking them for consumers and patients.”

The company has already completed an initial funding round and is planning a private subscription to raise further capital in the near future.

Deals to begin two manufacturing operations in Europe, including a 10,000+ square metre cultivation plant in Macedonia, are nearing completion and the company has longer term ambitions to carry out its own clinical trials.

It’s early days but the company has set out a five-year growth plan and is targeting £13.1m in inward investment.

Makwana told Cannabis Health, AltoVerde, which is headquartered in the UK, will be involved from seed to distribution and will respond to change in the market and regulations.

He said: “We’re setting ourselves up to be able to adjust to the way market demands shift over the coming years.

“With our expertise we know we can satisfy demand from the medicinal and wellbeing markets.

“We’re positioning ourselves up to take advantage whichever way regulations go and however the market changes.

“With our experience we know we can change and adapt.”

 

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