Key cannabis trade bodies have launched a UK-wide survey giving consumers the chance to have their say on the future of the industry.
In a joint statement, the British Hemp Alliance, Cannabis Trade Association, Northern Ireland Hemp Association and Scottish Hemp Association announced the launch of the Great British Consumer Survey on Tuesday 30 March.
The four major bodies, who collectively represent more than 1,000 domestic hemp and CBD companies, are gathering data on demand for CBD in the UK – specifically whether consumers prefer whole-plant products to synthetic or isolate-based extracts.
It comes in the week that the new novel food regulation is due to come into force, with all CBD companies expected to have an application submitted to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) by 31 March.
Only products with a successful application and listed on a public register due to be published by the FSA in April will be allowed to legally remain on the market moving forward.
Some in the industry fear this will force consumers of full-spectrum products (which contain a range of cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC) onto a black market.
“Novel foods licensing for CBD products will see synthetic cannabinoids entering the food supply for the first time in the UK with no labelling requirement to differentiate from natural plant produced,” the bodies said in a joint statement.
“We believe consumers deserve to be informed of what they are putting into their bodies.
“We understand that novel foods products will be licensed based on their safety evaluation, but just as a consumer has the right to choose organic produce over conventionally grown, the same should apply to natural plant based, versus synthetically produced cannabinoid containing products.”
The organisations claim many consumers are not aware that synthetic CBD is about to enter the food supply and assume all CBD is derived from the hemp plant.
A recent survey conducted by the Scottish Hemp Association reported that 90 percent of Scottish consumers supported the proposal for a synthetic labelling requirement on these products.
“Consumers have not been informed that synthetically produced cannabinoids are about to enter the food supply for the first time,” Kyle Esplin, chair of Scottish Hemp Association commented.
“Following on from the Scottish Hemp Association’s survey which found that more than 90 percent of consumers support the proposal that products containing synthetically produced CBD should state this clearly on the label, in collaboration with British Hemp Alliance, Cannabis Trades Association and Northern Ireland Hemp Association, we have now launched the ‘Great British CBD survey 2021.
“We welcome feedback from consumers regarding synthetic cannabinoids in food supplements and look forward to presenting the results to Food Standards Authority and Food Standards Scotland.”
The last nationwide CBD consumer survey was conducted in 2019 by the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI).
Last week the four trade bodies rejected proposals for a 0.03 percent THC limit on CBD products put forward to the Home Office by the ACI, Centre for Medical Cannabis and the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, claiming it would be a “disaster” for the industry.
The survey takes less than two minutes to complete and can be found here.
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