The debate surrounding whether hemp flower is legal in the UK has been raging for a long time.
Although there have been some raids and seizures of plant material, a large number of shops both in the high street and online are still openly importing and selling hemp buds.
In fact, it would seem that many police forces aren’t quite sure where the law stands in low-THC hemp flower, also known as CBD flower/bud.
If you ask the main trade associations for the CBD industry in the UK, they’ll likely tell you that hemp flower is illegal. However, they also say that hemp tea (which can be made for hemp flower) can be considered lawful.
As long as a number of criteria are met, it is suggested that hemp flower tea can be ‘exempt’ from the Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971.
So with that in mind, this hemp flower tea sold by Ice Head Shop may be the only truly legal hemp flower product in the UK.
The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971
Most forms of cannabis are illegal in the UK under the The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Hemp, however – which is cannabis grown from EU-approved seeds and contains less than 0.2% THC – can be grown and possessed legally if you have a licence.
CBD in its pure form is also not controlled under the MODA 1971. Interestingly, neither is THCa, which is the acidic precursor to THC. However, you’d have trouble making sure THCa doesn’t degrade into in THC as it happens naturally and under heat.
As well as outlining illegal substances, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 also makes some cannabis-derived products exempt. 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 [i.e. THC or CBN] to a human being or animal;
b) the controlled drug [THC and/or CBN] 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.
Is hemp tea legal?
So, provided it meets the above criteria, a hemp flower product can be considered exempt from the MODA. However, there are a few stipulations according to trade bodies the CTA (Cannabis Trade Association) and CannaPro. They are:
1. The product must be labelled and sold as ‘hemp tea’.
2. The product must be made from an EU-approved variety of hemp grown under licence in the EU.
3. The product must be labelled as the EU-approved strain that it is and not named after any typical weed strains.
4. The product must be ground up and packaged in tea bags with less than 1mg THC/CBN per serving.
UK legal hemp flower
When you take all that into consideration, it would seem that most hemp flower products sold in the UK are probably illegal. However, we did find one company who have ticked all the boxes in creating an exempt hemp flower product.
The hemp flower tea being offered by Ice Head Shop is sold as tea is made from an EU-approved strain and is labelled as such (they even proved proof of seed); it’s ground up and sold tea bags; and each serving contains 0.5g of flower, which equates to less than 1mg THC per bag.
They also make a point to state that their hemp tea is not sold for smoking. This is because it is illegal to market any product other than tobacco for smoking.
Their range includes Kompolti (with 20% CBD), KC Virtus (with 18% CBD), Eletta Campana (with 9.5% CBD), Finola (with 6% CBD), and many more. These are all EU-approved hemp strains grown under licence in Italy – a European in high-grade hemp cultivation.
Prices start at £5.99 per gram. Buy here.