Even if you haven’t used it, you’ve probably heard of cannabidiol (CBD). The hemp extract has become incredibly popular in the past year or two, with a number of territories moving to legalize it in some form. In the U.S., hemp and its extracts, including CBD, were legalized in 2018 by the Farm Bill.
Despite being barely regulated, the sector has grown in leaps and bounds since then, with thousands of CBD products on the shelves. In just a year, it was worth millions in sales, with experts estimating it will hit $20 billion by 2024.
The picture isn’t that different in the United Kingdom until recently when the UK Food Safety Agency (FSA) gave players in the CBD sector a year to apply for safety evaluations for their products to stay on the shelves.
The agency also warned vulnerable groups like pregnant and breastfeeding women against using CBD, and advised healthy adults to refrain from taking more than 70mg per day.
“CBD products are widely available on high street but are not properly authorized. The CBD industry must provide more information about the safety and contents of these products to the regulator before March 31, 2021, or the products will be taken off,” says Chief Executive of the FSA, Emily Miles.
“Also today, we are advising that CBD could be risky for vulnerable groups, and suggesting an upper limit of 70mg a day for everyone else taking the product. The actions that we’re raking today are pragmatic and proportionate steps in balancing the protection of public health,” she added.
“It’s now up to the industry to supply this information so that the public can be reassured that CBD is safe and what it is,” she concluded.
After March 31, 2021, only CBD products that have submitted a valid application will be allowed to remain on the market. However, until then, they can stay on the shelves as long as they are correctly labeled, safe to consume and don’t contain any substances that fall under drug legislation.
Note, though, that the deadline only requires an application to be submitted, not approved. “Getting the application in is one thing, getting approved is another,” says George McBride, CEO of Hanway Associates, a London-based consultancy for marijuana and hemp businesses.
He sees the move as the first of a series of landmark milestones on the route to cannabis reform in the UK, adding that “a potential future blue sky event for hemp and CBD businesses in the UK could be a change to the licensing regime, allowing farmers to extract CBD from hemp.”
Industry watchers believe that this minimally disruptive approach to regulating the CBD industry is a method that North American CBD sector players, such as ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX), would wish for the U.S. market as well.
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