A prominent Conservative MP has put more pressure on the British government to review how the cannabis industry is regulated.
Crispin Blunt, a long-standing parliamentary campaigner for drug reform, said Whitehall must change to avoid the UK being left behind as other countries embrace medical cannabis.
Blunt said the medical cannabis industry, as well as the nascent medical psychedelics industry, is being stymied by the lack of a proper regulatory framework.
His comments come days after Dr Dan Poulter called on the government to take medical cannabis regulation out of the hands of the Home Office to expand access.
Speaking at a Natural Resources Forum event on the state of the CBD sector, Blunt said ‘plainly the boundaries between medicines, wellness and food are blurring’ and CBD doesn’t ‘sit neatly with one regulator’.
He added: “We are making the case to government that you need a new office of drug control in order to address the systemic problems that exist, and those problems go further than cannabis and psychedelics.
“Someone has to be in a place where trade offs have to be judged and a proper cost benefit analysis carried out looking at benefits of medicines for patients, wellness for British consumers – as well as enabling the UK economy to get a decent slice of this business.
“We boast we are a bioscience country but the regulatory frameworks in this space…are utterly not fit for purpose.
His comments were echoed by Paul Hembery, a former motorsports executive who founded UK-based CBD company ULU.
He said: “We are going to allow the rest of the world to make great steps in this industry and in the UK we’ll have nothing to work with.
“We have fantastic farming in this country, we should be exporting, not importing.”
At the same event, industry expert Sarah Ellson called on regulators to rethink the ‘horrendously slow’ novel food process for CBD products.
Charlotte’s Web full spectrum CBD passes novel foods validation
Charlotte’s Web is now the only vertically integrated US company with a full-spectrum hemp extract to have passed the UK novel foods validation phase.
Charlotte’s Web has passed validation in its FSA Novel Food applications for its original formula full-spectrum hemp extract product.
This marks a milestone for Charlotte’s Web, as it becomes the only vertically integrated US company with a full-spectrum hemp extract to have passed the UK novel foods validation phase. The product will now advance to the safety assessment phase. Charlotte’s Web said the approval uniquely positions the company in the growing UK CBD market.
Charlotte’s Web products are distributed in the UK by Savage Cabbage Ltd. Under the new Novel Foods regulatory framework, Savage Cabbage said it will leverage its extensive distribution network in the UK to expand the presence of Charlotte’s Web in retail distribution channels and on the high street. The company said that it is now preparing to expand distribution in the UK, EU and countries worldwide.
“Charlotte’s Web understands that product quality, safety, and brand values matter to global health seekers who are demanding premium full-spectrum products,” said Jacques Tortoroli, CEO of Charlotte’s Web, “It’s critical to scaffold these emerging markets with the high bar set by our proprietary hemp genetics, scientific rigour and innovation practices.
“International audiences are only now learning the difference between full-spectrum and isolate CBD products, which provides a great opportunity for education, product differentiation and consumer adoption as they begin to understand the health advantages inherent in full-spectrum products.”
Novel Foods are ingredients which have not been widely consumed by people in the UK or EU before May 1997. This includes cannabidiol (CBD) and other consumable derivatives of the hemp plant, including whole-plant hemp extract. Novel Foods needs to be authorised by the FSA before they can be included on the list of novel foods and marketed for sale.
In addition to its Novel Foods application, Charlotte’s Web is collaborating with The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) which is part of the Secretariat Advisory Board (SAB), a European consortium of the UK’s and Europe’s leading CBD and hemp trade bodies and groups. The SAB is focused on encouraging the development of clear UK regulation for CBD that reflects evidence-based policy to safely serve the public and wider national interests engaged in public wellness.
According to the Brightfield Group, the UK CBD market has grown rapidly in recent years. The number of CBD consumers virtually doubling in 2019 to reach over 7 per cent of the adult population in 2020, representing sales of more than US$250m in 2020, growing to an estimated US $1.3b by 2025.
JM Wholesale sees 750 products included on FSA CBD list
The CBD stockist has described the development as a milestone for the company.
Following a partnership with the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and active participation with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), JM Wholesale has had more than 750 items included on the public CBD list.
Earlier this year the FSA published its list of CBD products linked to what it deems as credible Novel Food applications. Products included on the list will be advancing through the final stages towards authorisation, expected by 2023.
More than 900 applications for thousands of UK products have been submitted for approval, with the majority being rejected for lacking basic information such as toxicity levels.
JM Wholesale has announced that it has now had 750 of its products included on the public list.
Thomas Lowe, operations director at the Leicester-based company, said that, after 200 per cent business growth in the past 18 months and a resulting move to major new premises, JM Wholesale is now perfectly placed to consolidate its position as the UK’s premier CBD wholesaler.
Lowe commented: “We have a larger range of approved CBD products than any other distributor and this moment is another milestone for our company.
“We’ve worked hard to ensure that our customers and our business are protected, by getting rid of any products not published on the FSA’s website, regardless of how big those brands are.
“In fact we’ve always loved finding unique products, including those where the CBD can be absorbed in different ways. That way, more people from different walks of life can enjoy CBD no matter how they prefer to access it.
“From our distribution centre we now provide the largest range of isolate and full spectrum CBD products in the UK, all of which are 100 per cent accepted by the FSA.
“We are the first distributor to add the relevant Novel Food classification numbers to all of our relevant listed products.
“The past few months have been extremely challenging for our industry but we have made efforts to take an active role in the novel food submission process. We anticipated regulation of this industry, we were determined not to let it stand in the way of the growth of our business, and we’ve participated accordingly.
“All in all, this is excellent news for our customers and partners.”
The company has stated that it has experienced rapid growth off the back of increased awareness of the health benefits of CBD products in the UK, and that, alongside its consumer business, it also exports to suppliers in the UK and in 170 countries worldwide.
Halo Collective announces new chief executive officer
Current CEO Kiran Sidhu has resigned as the result of a mutual agreement between Mr Sidhu and the board of Halo.
Halo Collective Inc has promoted its president Katharyn Field to the position of chief executive officer.
Kathryn Field has been appointed chief executive officer of Halo replacing current CEO Kiran Sidhu. Ms Field takes the helm at Halo with nearly a decade of direct cannabis experience, including strategy, retail, corporate development, legal & regulatory and investor relations.
She first entered the cannabis industry in 2014 at Costa Farms, where she led the procurement, build-out and sale of one of five original vertically integrated companies in Florida.
She subsequently operated a strategy consulting practise focused on cannabis and also worked at MariMed as EVP of Corporate Development. She joined the Halo executive team in April 2019, serving initially as chief strategy officer, before moving onto the role of president in February 2020. She became a board member in July 2021.
“Halo is very well-positioned in the US West Coast cannabis space with a strong consumer brand portfolio and a loyal customer base. In particular, we have developed a valuable portfolio of California assets including wholesale and white label manufacturing as well as retail assets in Los Angeles,” said Ms Field.
“My initial focus will be on streamlining the organisation to establish a rationalised, focused business comprised of assets that create the most value and hold the most promise. While sales are down in California year over year, our business is up. Furthermore, our manufacturing business is profitable and the Budega stores are trending well.
“I’m confident that by prioritising near-term profitability and bolstering our growing retail presence, Halo will be able to scale from a position of strength, which is the best path to generate shareholder value.”
Mr. Sidhu’s departure was the result of a mutual agreement between the board of Halo and Mr Sidhu, and “reflected the board’s view that the company and Akanda – of which Halo owns approximately 40 percent – need to prioritise near-term profitability”. Mr Sidhu will provide consulting services to the company for six months to facilitate a smooth leadership transition.
“The Board believes the time is right for not only a change in leadership, but a change in strategy, and Katie has the right experience and capabilities to leverage the company’s valuable assets to create tangible and sustainable shareholder value,” commented Ryan Kunkel, Chair of the Board.