The FSA recently published a much-anticipated list of brands allowed to sell CBD products prompting a number to be pulled from shelves for failing to meet the criteria. The extension is to allow those time to submit the required product information.
However, industry specialists believe the system is flawed with one suggestion that it was unnecessary and another that legal action could be taken by companies who were badly advised
A spokesperson for The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis said: “A real concern at this stage of the process are the emerging accounts of new formulated and white labelled products appearing on the market since 12 February 2020.
"It's clear that some manufacturers have knowingly supplied companies with services that they knew were not compliant with the FSA novel foods guidelines. Further, it’s not clear that applicants who failed to produce plans to generate toxicology data have withdrawn those products, linked to their dossiers, from the market."
White label goods
They said that companies who bought white label goods are only now being told and asked for evidence that they were on the market before the deadline even though the suppliers were fully aware they were not.
Dr Mike Barnes, Chairman of the Cannabis Industry Council, believes the process has damaged the industry at a time when the markets need stimulating.
He said: “The whole thing has been a shambles, badly done and it has put the industry in a state of limbo for two years – it’s been very disruptive.
“It has decimated the industry at a time post-Covid, post-Brexit when really we should be stimulating the market. Yes, we needed better regulation, yes there are some poor products out there that needed cleaning up but this was really using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”
He said the level of bureaucracy was “totally unnecessary” and that misuse of drugs regulations would have put limits on controlled substances without every single product having to go through rigorous tox tests.
“CBD is CBD, one master study to confirm the safety is all that was needed and it has already been well-established that it is completely safe for humans,” he added.
Steve Moore, founder of The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry says: "This was an inevitable development given the conjecture regarding the stabilisation of the 31 March release of public list. An obviously disappointing development but we have been reassured by the FSA that the central tenets of the policy relating to the list are unchanged.
"We remain committed to working with the FSA, Trading Standards and retailers to ensure the industry proceeds towards full compliance and product authorisation over the coming 12 months."
In a statement from the FSA released yesterday (21 April) it said businesses have until 26 May to submit evidence that their products are linked to a credible application and were on the market before February 2020.
Rebecca Sudworth, Director of Policy, FSA said: ‘‘This is an unexpected development as this product information should have been provided to us much earlier in the process.
“To support businesses to achieve compliance for their products, we are therefore making one final call for evidence from businesses to link their products to credible applications.
The FSA aims to update the public list twice before 30 June and after that no new products will be added – the only changes made after this will be to reflect changes to the status of products in our novel foods authorisation process.
Rebecca added: “The CBD business is a large and complex market, where currently no products on sale have formally been through the necessary safety assessment.
“The FSA continues to take a proportionate and pragmatic approach to bringing this huge range of products towards compliance. There will continue to be a degree of change in the short term as the process continues. Certainty will only come after authorisation of CBD applications is achieved.”