Following a successful meeting with the Foods Standards Agency in November, some reassuring news has been released that provides clarity on the sale of Cannabis related goods in the UK.

On the 15th November 2019 the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA), led by CTA Director Tom Whettem (CEO – British Cannabis®), met with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) at their London HQ to discuss the ongoing issue of the Novel Foods Regulations and CBD. The primary objective of the meeting was to provide further clarity on the ongoing situation around novel foods, given that no official statement having been made by the FSA for nearly 11 months.

The meeting did provide clarity and great assurance to the members of the CTA and to the industry, as a whole.

The FSA confirmed that:

  • the current opinion on the novel status of cannabis extracts is based on the Novel Foods Catalogue which is not legally binding and should only be used as orientation.
  • their support for the route to compliance that the CTA is undertaking on behalf of its members: a submission under Article 4 of the novel food regulations.
  • the Article 4 submission being submitted by the CTA will form a legally binding determination of the novel status of cannabis extracts. This confirms this is the appropriate process to follow if there is any uncertainly on the status of, if a product is novel or not.
  • a submitted or ongoing Novel Foods Application (Article 10) will offer no protection from enforcement action, with no grace period or transitional period offered to products undergoing the application process. Those products could be removed from sale while the application is being processed, which could take up to six years.
  • those products that fall within the scope of the Article 4 submission by the CTA would be completely isolated and protected from enforcement, following the determination that they are indeed not novel.

This is where the route the CTA is taking differs from the route pursued by other trade bodies that have recently entered the industry. The CTA will reach a determination of the novel status without any admission of guilt until the determination is made.

A more developed report on this meeting, including clarifications on enforcement action and the doubtful evidence supporting it, is available here.

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From Tom Whettem – CTA founder & Compliance Director