Jersey Hemp shut down after UK Home Office action

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | Jorruang
Getty | Jorruang

Related tags CBD and Hemp Regulation

The only farm in the British Isles growing hemp and CBD extract onsite to create wellness products has shut down after the UK Home Office took action to stop export of its products to the UK.

Jersey Hemp, which cultivates and manufactures broad spectrum CBD oil, capsules, and powder in the Channel Islands, has revealed on LinkedIn that the UK Home Office instructed the Government of Jersey to place a condition on its licence to restrict the export of its products to the UK, and the government of Jersey has complied. This happened after the authorities found Jersey Hemp's products contain trace elements of controlled cannabinoids that are deemed to be controlled substances.

"This enforcement of Jersey Hemp has dire consequences for the whole CBD industry," the firm says in its LinkedIn post, "...this action deems all CBD in the UK a controlled substance and must be imported as such. We are taking legal action on this matter and hope to gain clarity on the legal status of CBD in the UK."

THC is a controlled drug which cannot be imported to the UK. In order to export cannabis outside of Jersey, licenses are required under the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law 1978 and are issued on a shipment-by-shipment basis. Additionally, an import licence is needed before controlled drugs are imported into the UK.

CBD in its pure form is not a controlled drug, but if a CBD product contains THC or other controlled cannabinoids then it is likely the product will be controlled.

Jersey Hemp said it had worked for three years on ensuring it met UK compliance standards.

The company states on its website: "Our Broad Spectrum CBD is an extract that contains all the compounds found naturally occurring in hemp plants, including terpenes, essential oils and other cannabinoids. Even though hemp CBD has extremely low levels of THC naturally, our processes remove the THC to non-detectable levels, so it’s safely within government-approved levels." 

Stephen Oliver, co-founder at The Canna Consultants has responded publicly​ to this action with sympathy for those working at the firm, but notes that this action was inevitable, based on the law on controlled cannabinoids and he points out that this won't impact other CBD brands making their way through the FSA novel foods process.

"Fortunately for every other market participant this government action against Jersey Hemp means absolutely nothing and other FSA-Validated market participants will continue to trade, continue to make profits, continue to grow, continue to expand and continue to progress through the Novel Foods process."

He further explains: "...Everyone else is importing CBD ingredients under the accurate, but generally vague, description of 'food supplement' such that the only chance of any of the border force, the police or the Home Office knowing of, caring about or being in any way interested in them is if they happen to stub their toes on the pallets which contain the drums of isolate and distillate as they walk around Bonded Warehouses. Critically - no permission is required for this endeavour whatsoever."

He notes that the Novel Foods process is moving slowly as the FSA awaits official guidance from the Home Office on standardised product testing methodology and a set legal THC limit.  

"During this time the Home Office’s wheels will turn slowly and, when the scientists are agreed upon a defined standardized test, then the Government will be in a position to introduce a new exemption for CBD wellness products predicated upon that science-based analytical capability.

"We predict that this will also coincide with the conclusion of the Novel Foods assessments because the FSA will not be able to authorize CBD ingredients as 'foods' while another branch of the Government defines the same substance as a 'drug'. The only question is over which will be ready to proceed first – if the Home Office then Novel Foods will not be held up, but if it is Novel Foods, then there will be no authorisations without the Home Office having come to the end of its 'THC/drug-defining' road."

Related topics Regulation & Policy

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