The Cannabis Trade Association has struck up a deal with a local authority to help it navigate regulations.
The trade group has entered into a legally recognised relationship with Oxforshire County Council.
It means the CTA will benefit from ongoing compliance advice from the council’s trading standards arm in a fast-changing regulatory environment.
The relationship is known as a ‘primary authority partnership’ and is an established legal process whereby organisations team up with standards experts to ensure standards are being met.
It comes in the context of the role out of controversial novel foods regulations on the CBD market and a consultation over THC levels in hemp.
With the novel foods process far from over and further regulation likely to follow in the medium-term, the deal will allow the CTA to offer the best advice to its members.
The CTA say it ‘will will provide ongoing tailored and impartial advice on matters which are of concern and helping businesses to plan by providing assured advice via a single point of contact on the continuing changes to the regulatory landscape’.
As the ‘primary authority’, Oxfordshire County Council will also act as a broker if another trading standards body in a different local authority area takes enforcement action.
Under the law, any other local authority must first liaise with the primary authority and, if the business has followed advice it was issued with under the agreements, it’s unlikely any further action would be taken.
Primary authority partnerships could increasingly be used by UK-based cannabis authorities to help stay ahead of a fluid and patchy regulatory system.
While standards are set at the national level, there is no one body overseeing enforcement.
Local authorities are responsible for applying their rules in their own area which can potentially lead to inconsistent approach depending on where a company is operating.
Getting compliance with new regulations from the outset has never been more important for the industry in light of the novel foods process for CBD products.
As previously reported, there is no appeals process built into the application procedure, meaning the onus is on companies to get their submissions right first time.
The expensive and slow process has seen just 42 products go through to the next stage of authorisation and over half of the 800+ applications originally submitted have already been turned down.