CBD has become the darling of the health and wellness world, exploding in popularity over the last few years.
However, the CBD industry in the European Union is under the threat of extinction. That’s because the European Commission has, for some strange reason, decided that CBD should be considered a narcotic under the United Nations Single Convention.
While this would be devastating for EU nations, the new restrictions shouldn’t affect European countries that aren’t part of the EU. Countries such as the UK, which officially left the EU earlier this year following the ’Brexit’ referendum of 2016.
CBD as a narcotic
The European Commission came to a “preliminary conclusion” last month that extracts from the flowering and fruiting tops of the hemp plant – common in hemp-based supplements, food, food and cosmetics — should be considered a drug in the EU.
This suggests that the European Commission may sway votes at a critical meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) Dec. 4, 2020 in Vienna, where 12 EU member states will vote on a variety of cannabis and CBD issues.
The European Commision
As the governing body of the EU, the European Commission is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU.
However, the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs (HDG) – which manages the EU Council of Ministers’ work on narcotics – will also influence any final decision regarding the classification of CBD in Europe. And, importantly, member state governments also have the chance to offer their input via the HDG.
If the EC’s preliminary decision is adopted by the EU, it would be catastrophic for the fast-growing European CBD industry.
The industry was already reeling from the classification of CBD and hemp extracts as ‘Novel Foods’ in 2019, despite hemp being widely consumed in Europe for thousands of years. This designation was forcing manufacturers and producers to submit expensive and long-winded Novel Food applications for their products.
While these applications have now been put on hold in response to the European Commission’s preliminary decision, Novel Food licences may still be required for UK companies.
Will Brexit save the UK CBD industry
In a referendum that split the country (48% to 52%), the UK finally officially left the European Union on 31 January 2020.
While many feared for the economic future of the country, it seems that having the power to instigate rules and restrictions apart from the EU may see the UK’s CBD industry remain unscathed by the European Commission’s decision to label CBD a narcotic.
And that will come as a huge relief to the many business owners, investors and entrepreneurs that seeded and helped the industry bloom over the last four or so years.
It’s also vitally important that the estimated 6 million CBD consumers in the UK continue to have access to CBD. Many CBD users rely on products containing the non-psychotropic cannabinoid as a safe and effective therapeutic aid.
UK: hemp leaders?
So, say what you will about Brexit. However, in this bizarre situation – where the EU looks like it will outlaw a non-addictive, highly therapeutic compound with little to no toxicity – it seems that economic independence may well benefit the UK and its inhabitants.
Now all we need to do is legalise the domestic production of CBD and the UK could experience a booming hemp industry that would confer much-needed economic, environmental and health benefits.
WIth the profits of the pharmaceutical industry at stake, however, the road to such a situation may not be obstacle-free.