The legality of hemp flower in the UK is a contentious issue.
While the law appears to prohibit the possession or sale of hemp flower, it’s still openly imported into the UK and widely sold in full view of the authorities.
A number of shops have even been allowed to continue operating after having their stock seized and tested for THC.
However, what if you want to buy some hemp flower from the United States? Is it possible? Will you get in trouble if you try to import it into the UK?
This article will answer all those questions and more…
Legal status of hemp flower in UK
Most forms of cannabis are illegal in the UK under the The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Hemp, however – which is legally defined cannabis grown from EU-approved seeds and contains less than 0.2% THC – can be grown and possessed legally if you have a Home Office-issued licence. Hemp farmers are not allowed to process the flowers and leaves, though, and must destroy these parts of their crop.
CBD in its pure form is not controlled under the MODA 1971.
Some cannabis-derived products are considered exempt from The Misuse of Drugs Act, however. To meet the criteria of an exempt product, it must comply with these three statements:
a) the preparation or other product is not designed for administration of the controlled drug to a human being or animal;
b) the controlled drug in any component part is packaged in such a form, or in combination with other active or inert substances in such a manner, that it cannot be recovered by readily applicable means or in a yield which constitutes a risk to health; and
c) no one component part of the product or preparation contains more than one milligram of the controlled drug [in this case, THC and CBN] or one microgram.
Judging by this, it would seem that the possession and sale of hemp flowers is unquestionably against the law in the UK.
However, there may be one solid case for selling hemp flower in the UK thanks to the EU’s principle of mutual recognition. This is the principle of EU law under which member states must allow goods that are legally sold in another member state to also be sold in their own territory. It ensures the free movement of goods in the EU.
And, in 2001, the German and Swiss authorities permitted the use of hemp flower in end products, followed by Romania and Italy, effectively clearing the way for hemp flower to be sold across the EU.
This EU principle may be the reason why a number of hemp flower vendors are openly operating with seeming confidence that any case broughty to them would not stand up in court. It could also be why some businesses have continued operating even after police raids and stock seizures.
Legal status of hemp flower in U.S
The legal status of hemp flower in the United States is much clearer thanks to the Hemp Farming Act which was included in the 2018 Farm Bill. This law removed hemp (with less than 0.3% THC) from Schedule I controlled substances and made it an ordinary agricultural commodity.
Since the passing of the Farm Bill, the hemp flower industry has bloomed. Smokable hemp flower is now widely sold online and in shops across nearly all states (some states have attempted to ban it already), with strains reaching over 20% CBD content.
While still a cottage industry, it’s growing fast and is the fastest growing sector of the CBD industry.
Why buy American hemp flower?
If hemp flower is widely available in the UK, why would you want to order from the U.S? Well, there’s a couple of reasons…
High-grade American hemp looks, smells and tastes just as good as regular high-grade THC-rich cannabis. The only difference being the low THC content and high CBD content.
Hemp flower in the U.S is cheap. While THC-rich cannabis generally goes for 5-10 dollars a gram, hemp flower can go for as low as 1 dollar a gram. This is also a hell of a lot cheaper than hemp flower in the UK, which is usually around £10 a gram.
Is it safe to order hemp flower from the U.S
I have personally had a couple of orders arrive with me in the UK just fine. However, I have read of a few instances where packages have been seized by customs. This isn’t common, though, and the chances of further actions being taken against you are small.
If your package is held by customs, the most likely response will be a letter from customs warning you not to do it again.
Best U.S Hemp flower sellers that ship to UK
Shipping usually takes between 7 and 14 days.