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UK Becomes First Country To Regulate CBD Products As Food

By Marguerite Arnold

The Food Safety Commission issued an official list of legal CBD products that can be sold in the UK and Wales

There is not a lot to cheer about in the British cannabis industry, generally. So far, the medical discussion has repeatedly stalled.

However, there is a ray of light on the horizon for CBD products.

Last week the British FSA issued a list of officially recognized products that are legally allowed to be sold. There are about 3,500 products on the list. Any products that are not on the list will be now considered illegal products and vendors who sell them will be open to prosecution. However, this is not a definitive list, and other products can be added.

About 900 applications were submitted before the government deadline, of which 71 progressed. This has now resulted in said applications being used in 3,500 products. 680 applications were rejected, and 42 applications were withdrawn from companies that no longer wished to move forward with the process.

The list covers products that can be sold in England and Wales. Scotland will have its own regulatory oversight and process. Only Northern Ireland has refrained from moving forward with even CBD reform as it remains under the jurisdiction of the EU – which has yet to approve any CBD-based food or supplements.

A Boom for British CBD

The move is likely to create a highly entrepreneurial environment for at least part of the cannabis industry. Unlike the US, where CBD has been federally legal since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the British will have a formal list to guide both consumers and investors.

This in turn is likely to create Europe’s first viable, commercial CBD market, and further one that may well influence decision-makers in the EU.

Annual sales of British CBD products hit about $898 million in sales in 2021, making the UK the world’s second-largest CBD market outside of the US.

The UK legalized CBD in 2018, but the market has been slowed down both by Covid and by the approvals process at the FSA.

Now that the FSA has released a formal list, however, legal sales can proceed unfettered.

CBD is perhaps the second-best known cannabinoid after THC. It has no psychoactive effects, but has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and other medical impacts. It is most currently viewed as a wellness product, although there are some medicines that are made only from CBD.

Let the games if not sales begin!

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