A list of the first cannabis-based food products allowed to be sold in the UK is to be revealed by the country’s standards watchdog today, City A.M. understands.
The UK’s Food Standards Authority (FSA) will publish a list of nearly 5,000 products which will fall under its regulatory wing.
After a year of waiting, products which fail to make the list will have to be pulled from shop shelves.
The products are cannabinoid (CBD) based, which means they contain extracts from cannabis but cannot get you high.
As the FSA rushed to regulate the growing industry in 2020, the watchdog gave the CBD industry a deadline of 31 March 2021, which meant companies had to submit an application to be allowed to remain on the market.
“CBD products are widely available on the high street but are not properly authorised. The CBD industry must provide more information about the safety and contents of these products to the regulator before 31 March 2021, or the products will be taken off the shelves,” FSA boss Emily Miles said at the time.
“We’ve got to pay for this pandemic somehow.”
Michael Walker, managing director of the Purity Hemp Company
The FSA added that CBD could be risky for vulnerable groups, such as those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking medication and that no more than 70mg should be taken per day.
The authorisation process ensures so-called ‘novel foods’ meet legal standards, including on safety and content. It also means that companies must have their traceability and toxicology reports up to scratch. But CBD businesses say it has been a long time coming.
Michael Walker, managing director of the Purity Hemp Company, told City A.M. that the list is the “first big step towards a regulated cannabis space” in the UK.
Home to the world’s second largest market, the CBD industry on UK soil has been valued at around £690m, with forecasts to hit £1bn around 2025.
“Post-pandemic people have been really focusing on their own personal wellness. There’s a big migration away from pills and pharmaceuticals,” he explained.
“We’ve got to pay for this pandemic somehow,” continued Walker, with the industry said to be a “huge opportunity” for tax revenues.
A raft of mergers and acquisitions are expected to follow the new regulations, the CBD boss noted, as well as a “big green wave from the US, with companies who want to get a foothold in the world’s second largest market”.
After “playing the long game” and laying in wait for regulations, the Purity Hemp Company is looking to snap up some of the country’s market share and build brand loyalty in the market.