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“Positive” Home Office meeting signals change for UK cannabis industry

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pandemic CBD
A meeting took place between key industry stakeholders and Home Office representatives on Wednesday 31 March.

Key stakeholders have indicated a positive step for the UK CBD industry, after meeting with Home Office representatives this week.

In a joint statement the British Hemp Alliance, Cannabis Trades Association, Northern Ireland Hemp Association, Scottish Hemp Association and Unyte Hemp said a “positive meeting” took place with Home Office representatives on Wednesday 31 March.

The urgent meeting was called by the key industry bodies – which collectively represent over 1,000 CBD and hemp businesses in the UK – in a bid to find workable solutions for businesses, regulators and public health officials.

“We would like to thank the Home Office for their swift response to our call for a meeting,” the statement said.

“Speaking on behalf of over 1000 hemp and CBD businesses, the largest and most diverse group in the UK, we discussed the various irregularities facing the hemp industry. 

“These include controlled substances naturally present in trace amounts in hemp foods, import licenses and farming.”

Findings from an upcoming white paper, UK Medicinal Cannabis and CBD market by Professor Mike Barnes and cannabis consultancy firm Maple Tree, were shared in advance of its release, as well as preliminary results from the Great British CBD survey 2021, in which consumers consistently voted in favour of full-spectrum or whole plant products.

In January, the Minister of State for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse wrote to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) calling for further clarity on the legal levels of THC permitted in CBD products. 

Since then the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), Centre for Medical Cannabis and the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group has released a paper recommending a 0.03 percent THC limit should be adopted by the Home Office to address “widespread confusion” over regulations.

Under the proposals, CBD products and hemp strains below those levels would be exempted from controlled status.

In a joint letter last week, the British Hemp Alliance, Cannabis Trades Association, Northern Ireland Hemp Association, Scottish Hemp Association said this would be a “disaster” and is too stringent to allow the UK hemp sector to grow.

Hemp food products have been on the UK market for over 20 years, with trace amounts of controlled substances present.

The Home Office is said to have acknowledged that the 1mg issue was “not relevant to hemp products”, with the exempt definition being intended for research purposes, not for human administration.

They agreed that new regulations would be required to accommodate this growing industry.

The statement continued: “With the requirement of Regulated Product (Novel Food) authorisation, and synthetic cannabinoids entering the food supply for the first time, our proposal for mandatory labelling for classification of contents was well received.

“As part of the Home Office review for changes required to law and regulations, including the Misuse of Drugs Act, will see an immediate improvement to the future of the UK hemp and cannabis industry.

“We will be submitting our evidence to the ACMD.”

A Home Office spokesperson confirmed that they continue to engage with industry stakeholders but its position on CBD and cannabis cultivation remains the same.

While CBD, as an isolated substance, is not a controlled drug, if a product contains THC then it is “highly likely” that the product would be controlled.

They added that those who wish to cultivate cannabis for legitimate purposes must possess the appropriate licence.

A spokesperson said: We have asked the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to provide advice on how we can strengthen and clarify the law on consumer cannabidiol (CBD) products.

“This advice will ensure the law is clear and that these products are safe for consumers, so those who seek to supply legitimate, safe CBD consumer products are able to do so more easily.

“We continue to engage with industry stakeholders but the legislation, our position on CBD and the cultivation of cannabis have not changed.”

 

 

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Medical cannabis cultivation gets green light in Guernsey

Businesses can now apply for a licence to grow high-THC cannabis for medical purposes.

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It marks a significant step in the island's emerging cannabis industry

Businesses based in the Bailiwick of Guernsey can now apply for a licence to grow high-THC cannabis for medical purposes.

In a significant step in the development of the island’s emerging cannabis industry, businesses can now apply for a high-THC cannabis cultivation licence following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UK Home Office. 

Previously only licences to cultivate cannabis for CBD products were available. 

According to a Government announcement on Thursday 22 July, applications will be received by the newly formed Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency (BGCA), which has been established by the Committee for Health and Social Care.

“Guernsey was one of the first to recognise the potential benefits that cannabis-based products medicinal might bring,” commented Deputy Al Brouard, president of the Committee for Health and Social Care.

“The MoU marks the start of a process that may allow these products to be produced on island for the benefit of patients within the Bailiwick and overseas. The creation of the Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency further enhances our robust regulatory system for cannabis cultivation.”

Deputy Neil Inder, president of the Committee for Economic Development added: “Guernsey’s famous growing heritage continues to thrive within this new island industry. The MoU ensures that the Bailiwick can continue to remain at the forefront of a developing sector that provides diversification to our economy, revitalisation of our environment and new opportunities for skills and employment. 

“Growers once moved into finance and now finance is moving into growing. The Committee will continue to support the opportunities available in the pharmaceutical industry and I’m very grateful for the effort all parties have made to deliver the long-awaited MoU.”

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Report reveals positive outlook for European hemp farmers

Hemp producers are expecting to sell more than 80 percent of their production this year

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Hemp producers are expecting to sell more than 80 percent of their production this year

A new industry report published this week has revealed a positive outlook for European hemp farmers.

The second edition of the Canxchange quarterly benchmark report shows a fairly optimistic outlook from European hemp farmers.

It highlights a number of factors including the “slowdown of the COVID-19 pandemic” and “better visibility due to vaccine programmes that have been implemented across the globe” – giving farmers the confidence to invest in production machinery and materials.

According to the survey, the vast majority of hemp producers are expecting to sell more than 80 percent of their production this year, with 60 percent of participants having already pre-sold the majority of production for the year, and negotiations having already begun for the 2022 harvesting campaign.

Prices for CBD whole flowers, biomass and oil have remained stable, however, CBDCBN and CBC isolate prices from the US have been blowing “European competition out the water”.

It goes on to highlight that the last few months have seen European isolate prices stabilise at €400-500, but that US products that are beginning to appear on the European market continue to put pressure on producers.

The report is part of Canxchange’s strategy to encourage a more transparent and efficient physical hemp market.

The report states: “The minor cannabinoid space is gaining more and more traction as CBD has become a very competitive market and experienced CBD players are looking to diversify into minor cannabinoids which are picking up in popularity.

“CBN and CBC prices remain stable as the supply and demand curve looks stable. Some US products are starting to appear in Europe putting pressure for prices on European producers.”

Read more in-depth coverage of the Canxchange report at Cannabis Wealth

 

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CBD and cannabis in the UK – a few things you need to know

Are you thinking about trying CBD? Here’s a few things you should know.

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CBD products are legal in the UK
CBD products are legal in the UK - and they are becoming popular too.

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Are you thinking about trying CBD? Here’s a few things you should know about how things stand in the UK.

Everybody is talking about cannabidiol, it is becoming popular all around the world. However, a lot of people get confused when they hear that CBD comes from the cannabis plant. This causes speculation on whether CBD products are actually legal in the UK.

First of all, to address the question, is CBD legal in the UK?

The answer is yes. But, it is important to be aware of the rules first so that you can enjoy peace of mind and know where you stand.

The legality of CBD products in the UK

Just like in many other countries around the world, CBD products are legal in the UK. Indeed, they are becoming popular too. A product will have to be fit for human consumption in order to be legal. In addition, it cannot contain more than 0.2 percent THC. You can dive into CBD and cannabis resources here.

You will find that a lot of CBD oils and products are going to be sold as supplements. They should not be marketed as a cure to any illness nor claiming to help with any disease.

While there are studies available that suggest CBD can be a good thing for you to take on a regular basis, this is not something that a brand is allowed to market.

THC is illegal 

So, are there any CBD products that are illegal in the UK?

The answer is yes. The products that contain THC, which is known as tetrahydrocannabinol, are going to be illegal. The reason for this is, it is the psychoactive cannabinoid, which can make you feel high. It is important to note that THC is called a controlled substance in the UK. This is down to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Therefore, you want to look for CBD products that are free from THC. This is going to ensure that you can enjoy the product as intended, as well as making sure that you do not break any of the rules or regulations in the UK.

Another thing to consider is that harvesting hemp  – you can find out more at 9leafs – for CBD products is currently illegal in this country.

While there is a lot of uproar about this by farmers and there are people that want the law changed, this is how it stands right now. So, as a consumer, you will have to choose imported hemp and ensure that it contains no THC. 

Why is CBD popular in the UK?

If you are new to CBD, you may wonder why a lot of people are choosing to take it.

Well, there are studies that suggest cannabidiol can have benefits for your health. Namely, it may be able to help with joint and chronic pain, as well as with anxiety and stress.

There is also some suggestion that CBD may be able to help with insomnia, migraines and allergies.

 

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