Cannabis Professionals (CannaPro), the trade association for the UK’s cannabis, CBD and hemp businesses, has instructed solicitors to take decisive action in the ongoing row between the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the UK’s fastest-growing food supplement market for cannabidiol (CBD) products.
TLT Solicitors, acting on behalf of CannaPro, has sent a formal letter to the FSA warning it of the consequences of taking any enforcement action against CannaPro Certified Businesses. An industry-wide claim for such compensation could amount to many hundreds of millions of pounds/euros. A copy of the letter can be seen here. This offers some degree of protection to all businesses that are CannaPro Certified.
Acting in conjunction with its opposite numbers in several EU states, the FSA has sought to classify CBD products and all cannabis extracts as ‘novel’ by listing them in the EU Novel Food catalogue. This threatens to destroy a market that is now worth up to £100 million pa, employs hundreds of people and is meeting the healthcare and wellness needs of hundreds of thousands of UK citizens.
A ‘novel food’ is defined as a food or food ingredient that was not in widespread consumption in the EU area before 1997. In reality, cannabis, in varieties known as hemp, has been consumed as food for at least 10,000 years and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest cultivated crop. The FSA’s action is irrational, defies history and reverses previous statements by the FSA that cannabis and hemp are not ‘novel’.
Peter Reynolds, president of CannaPro, said:
“The FSA has made a series of errors in the way it has handled this. The whole process has been misguided and unlawful, not to say that the whole idea CBD products can be regarded as novel is nonsense. It has undertaken no proper consultation and although there have been vague discussions around the issue for a couple of years, the FSA has changed its position time and time again. What’s really going on here is that big business and powerful vested interests have been caught on the hop while enterprising small businesses have established a market which is now worth an awful lot of money. Improper pressure has been brought on the regulator to find a way of clamping down. It would suit these vested interests to see the market so strictly regulated that small businesses are unable to compete. CannaPro is not going to stand by and let that happen.”