Will the EU Designate CBD-Infused Foods as Narcotics?

the EU ruling on CBD

When it comes to CBD products, the regulations that exist in in your home state or territory matter a lot. This is because the regulations go a long way to determine the availability of such products. This is the case presently in the EU where a new regulation looks to change the view of CBD foods. The impact of this regulation will initiate a change in the entire industry and change how CBD food is viewed totally.

A detailed breakdown

First off, we will start off with the regular status quo for CBD that has come to be the norms guiding different stakeholders in the CBD industry in the EU. CBD was initially classified as a novel food ingredient by the European Food Safety Authority. This classification for a product is premised on the fact that the food has not been used for human consumption to a large degree in the Union before 15 May 1997. The implication of this, therefore, is that for companies to sell the novel food products in the EU, they need to obtain a license for sale. These licenses do not come easily as companies will be required to go through rigorous processes for applications and authorizations. The purpose of the authorizations is to ensure that the novel food products can be proven to be safe for its incorporation into foods and drinks.

The general reason why CBD is still classified as a novel food despite its huge history is because of the criminalization and illegal nature of cannabis and cannabis products in times past. Most novel foods are tagged as such because there is limited knowledge as to the history and safety of the product. This tag has guided stakeholders in the business of CBD foods in the EU but a change looks to be in the works. A suspension of the novel food applications and labeling of the product as narcotic related.

The different benefits of CBD have long been a general topic in the industry. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid that can be derived from hemp has a wide range of medical benefits. These include its effectiveness in dealing with pain and inflammation, seizures, and aiding sleep. This has prompted its incorporation into foods, drinks, and cosmetics. The change in the designation of CBD foods seems to affect only the foods and drinks and not cosmetics. This is because the new view is directed towards non-synthetic CBD products. This reality has since been passed on to over 50 CBD novel food applicants as they have been asked for feedback on the possibility of the designation of the product as a narcotic. The reality is that this affects CBD derived from hemp flowers that are used in foods and invariably this becomes a big blow for Europe’s CBD companies.

To properly understand this change, we have to look into the basis for the designation of CBD foods as narcotic and no longer as novel foods. The first evident point is that CBD constitutes an extract of cannabis which is why they are seeking a change in the designation of the product. To understand this better, we have to refer back to the stance of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961. There, cannabis is regarded as any plant of the genus cannabis irrespective of the THC content of the plant. Also, cannabis resins, extracts, and tinctures of cannabis are also regarded as narcotics. Another stance is that under international treaties, CBD despite being derived from hemp flowers is still regarded as a narcotic and cannot be infused into foods.

This view of CBD irrespective of whether its source is legally grown hemp and regardless of its THC content as an extract of cannabis serves as the basis for which the EU is seeking to designate CBD foods as narcotics. The impact of this is bound to be largely felt by CBD companies in the EU. This is because it blocks direct sales lines of CBD foods in the Union. This becomes a major blow for may investors and puts companies in a precarious position in terms of their investments. This change is also bound to have an effect on how union states start to consider CBD as well as the enforcement protocols they put in place. An increase in the enforcement is bound to be in the works as there is a difference in how such states view products tagged as narcotics as opposed to being tagged as novel foods.

The UK however, doesn’t take the stance of the EU in the changing of this designation. After the end of the 12-month transition period of the UK from the EU, jurisdiction solely falls on the Home Office as they look to guide the UK public and stakeholders concerning CBD. The UK does not consider CBD foods as narcotics enabling their incorporation into foods. The implication of this is that there is a clear and legal pathway for CBD food companies to explore in the UK. This is bound to attract interest and investors in the CBD sector. However, it still leaves a grim reality to be expected by CBD companies in Union states.

Bottom line

Many marketers are sure to be looking for a different way in which they can look to beat this new problem. One of the ways that they can go about this is by switching CBD sources and finding alternative sources of CBD. Relabeling is also another way but ultimately it is obvious that this is a tough situation for these companies. A pushback is expected by the CBD novel foods applicants in a bid to ensure that a comfortable ground is created for all stakeholders. Also, the European Industrial Hemp Association is also aware of the situation this change puts its members and they are all seeking to find a way that this can be appeased to the benefit of all on board. Hopefully a common ground where all involved (entrepreneurs and users) benefits can be reached.

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