UK trade body the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) today launched a new ‘quality charter’ for CBD products, which it says will help “foster a legally compliant, socially responsible and innovative CBD industry in the UK”.
CMC says that signatories of the charter will be committing to a comprehensive framework of legal compliance and quality controls.
This legal “compliance pathway” is primarily geared towards Novel Foods authorisation, which will be delivered through a new partnership between the CMC and Global Regulatory Services (GRS).
In February the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) reclassified cannabidiol as a Novel Food, following a change of status in the EU Novel Food Catalogue. Novel foods require an authorisation from the European Food Safety Authority before they can legally be placed on the market.
While the FSA agreed in the short term to defer enforcement of the new rules, the expectation is that the situation is about to change. Objections from parts of the industry that CBD’s reclassification as a novel food was unfair, and based on an inaccurate assessment, seem unlikely to force a change of mind by the FSA on the issue.
Bill Griffin, a press spokesperson for the CMC, told NPG: “My understanding is that the FSA is losing patience with parts of the industry. They were expecting industry to come forward and say, ‘okay, these are the rules, and this is how we are going to adhere to them’. But what they got was industry saying ‘these rules aren’t correct, and we reject them’. That effectively closed down the conversation between the industry and the FSA.”
“The doors have closed for the manufacturers that claim the rules are somehow different for the cannabis industry”
Going down the route set out in the CMC charter – which includes commitments to legal requirements (pursuing EFSA authorisations), GMP, testing and labelling standards – will add to companies’ cost commitments, Griffin admits. But he adds:“If there are ways of grouping together for applications, this would definitely help – which is where initiatives like that of the CMC can be a valuable enabler”.
Predicting changes for the UK’s £300 million CBD products sector, CMC’s pharmacy lead, Andy Yates, told The Times: “The doors have closed for the manufacturers that claim the rules are somehow different for the cannabis industry. This new initiative exists to ensure consumers can access legal, safe and quality CBD products.”