The action comes after the HO took action to revoke the export license of Jersey Hemp, which the ACI’s Steve Moore says “sent a tremor through the sector” as other companies worried for their safety.
The wheels of the Novel Foods process are turning excruciatingly slowly for companies in this industry as the FSA awaits official guidance from the Home Office on standardised product testing methodology and a set legal THC limit.
When the scientists are agreed upon a defined standardized test and limit, then the Government will be in a position to introduce a new exemption for CBD wellness products.
But Moore says the current absence of a clear, legal framework for CBD products "leaves every company operating in the sector exposed to the risk of law enforcement at a time when they are actively investing in seeking marketing authorisation from the FSA via the Novel Foods process.”
Moore has sent a letter to the HO calling for the “urgent attention to the serious impact of ongoing delays by the Home Office to provide clarification on the legal framework for consumer cannabinoid products which as sold on every High Street and online”.
The HO sought the ACMD’s (Government’s Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs) advice on safe levels of THC in CBD products back in December 2021, yet has not enacted on that advice yet, meaning the CBD sector continues to “operate in a legal fog”, according to Moore.
“We now urge the Home Office to provide immediate clarification regarding the legal framework within which we operate, drawing on the expert advice provided by ourselves, the ACMD and others in 2021.”
His letter continues: “We appreciate the imperatives the Home Office must consider with regard to compliance with the Misuse of Drugs Act, but we believe the companies we represent have operated wholly responsibly through this period and now consider there is no good reason why the Home Office cannot issue the legal clarity the industry is crying out for.”
Speaking to NutraIngredients, he adds: “We were successful in 2020 in getting the FSA to agree to a new Novel Foods approach for the CBD sector but it’s clear it has now ground to a halt.”
He says he understands the HO is under a lot of economic pressure, given the number of companies involved in the process and the number of products on the shelves but argues “we need to ramp up pressure now”.
The Home Office was contacted for commented but had not responded at the time of publication.
Why was Jersey Hemp shut down?
Jersey Hemp which cultivates and manufactures broad spectrum CBD oil, capsules, and powder in the Channel Islands, was shut down after in recent weeks, after 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.
This happened under the guideline that products entering the country must contain no more than 1mg of THC per closed bulk container.
Jersey Hemp said it had worked for three years on ensuring it met UK compliance standards.
The company has always been very open about the fact its products are 'broad spectrum' containing a range of cannabinoids. It communicates 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."