Compliant businesses operating responsibly within the legal cannabis sector will help to drive reform. Blurring the lines between legal and illegal products will delay progress.
It seems that the crackdown on the open sale of cannabis flowers online and in high street stores is here. Both in the UK and Ireland, several shops have been raided in recent weeks and some people are facing potential charges of supplying a class B drug and a possible jail sentence.
These flowers, sold under meaningless pseudonyms such as ‘CBD buds’ or ‘hemp flowers’ are cannabis and cannabis is a controlled drug in both the UK and Ireland. As CLEAR has been warning for many months, there is no way that these can ever be ‘exempt products’ in the same way as CBD oil. Their THC content makes no difference. The penalty is the same for any type of cannabis whether it contains zero THC or 25% THC.
It’s unclear whether CBD oil is legal at all in Ireland. A more accurate description for these products is low-THC cannabis extracts and whereas the UK makes specific provision for exempt products in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, there does not seem to be any such provision in Irish law.
In other EU countries an even wider crackdown on CBD products is underway, fuelled also by the extraordinary and clearly unsustainable attempt to deem all cannabis extracts as ‘novel foods’.
Now it shouldn’t need to be said but CLEAR stands for an end to the prohibition of cannabis and all our work is directed towards that end. Some people seem very confused that our efforts to clarify the law mean that we are on the side of prohibition but this is not the case. Through our trade association, Cannabis Professionals (CannaPro) we refuse to certify businesses that sell cannabis flowers. They are cheating their customers by misleading them that these products are legal. They are also cheating all those other businesses operating within the legal cannabis sector who are working hard to remain compliant. They are undermining the very good work that the CBD industry is doing to drive wider cannabis law reform.
Of course, many of us are buying cannabis illegally already. Without our local dealers where would we all be under the oppressive and ridiculous regime under which we live? But our aim and the aim of all responsible cannabis campaigns is to ‘get the dealers off the street’ and move the trade into licensed, regulated outlets. The emergence of the CBD market and high street retailers selling CBD oil has shown how this could work and there is no doubt at all that it has been a very significant factor in increasing public acceptance of cannabis and the recent reforms for medical access.
The people selling cannabis flowers and claiming they are legal are not heroes, campaigners or warriors in the war on prohibition. They are confidence tricksters, seizing the opportunity to make a quick buck by cheating and endangering their customers. No one is going to go to jail for buying cannabis but if you’ve bought low THC flowers and get charged with possession that could ruin you future prospects of travel, a career, even of keeping your driving licence. If you’re going to take that risk you need to do so with your eyes open, with the honest trade of an illegal dealer rather than the dishonest trade of a shop or a website that is telling you lies.
Also, be very careful what you are buying. The ‘CBD flowers’ currently being advertised are most certainly not what they claim to be. The strain names are being misused. White Widow, Lemon Haze or Pineapple Express do not come with 20% CBD and only traces of THC. These products have been doctored. There simply aren’t any cannabis strains that contain these constituents in these proportions. What is probably happening is that they are being sprayed with CBD isolate and possibly terpene extracts to come with what are artificial cannabis buds. Buy these and you are being cheated on many levels and you really don’t know what you are actually inhaling.
We are making steady and accelerating progress towards a rational cannabis policy but this latest development is unwelcome and unhelpful. Trust your usual dealer. If you’re buying cannabis flower, it comes with THC. If you want added CBD take a little oil or vape some CBD crumble. This will give you a far better result than these fake flowers. It will enhance the therapeutic properties of your cannabis if you’re consuming for medical reasons. It will give you a far better buzz if you’re consuming for pleasure.
Nothing good will come from these fake flowers. Compliant businesses operating responsibly within the legal cannabis sector will help to drive reform. Blurring the lines between legal and illegal products will delay progress.