The CTA has always maintained that the flowering tops of hemp are illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
However, many shops have sprung up and started selling the flowering tops of the hemp plant, which is unlawful.
The police are, in many cases, quite under resourced to deal with such affairs, and the unlawful practice grew significantly, only rarely troubled by the law.
The CTA membership became worried by these increased sales of illegal products in the open market, especially since they were more often than most associated with legal CBD offerings. The risk of misrepresentation within the market, in the eyes of the government agencies and law enforcement was extremely high. Increased and very publicised police actions triggered the need for action.
The CTA and its legal team contacted the Home Office, Trading Standards and many police forces.
Together they engaged in an exercise of information gathering, clarification and education. Call it a public safety effort.
A clear and mutual understanding between what is good business practices, what falls under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971 and what is outright trickery was achieved and communicated.
Law enforcement subsequently setup a task force with an objective to weed out not only bad sellers, but also bad suppliers.
While the CTA’s involvement in the policing of a practice that many consider as legitimate raised many questions, it also firmly established the industry it represents on the right side of the law. This status increases its weight and raises its profile for all future discussions around the potential evolution of legal and regulated sales of flowers and buds.