Towards the end of 2019, some of our customers were affected by order delays, as a result of import seizures made by the UK Border Force. We instructed a specialist firm of solicitors to engage with the authorities on our behalf, intending to resolve the issue as soon as possible and to prevent any future intervention. Following this, we are happy to confirm that we are no longer facing these issues. However, the import seizures happened in correlation with changes in the regulation of the UK CBD industry.
Previously, the law stated that it was legal for a product to contain trace levels of THC, so long as the THC content was less than 0.2%. This meant that full spectrum products could be compliant with UK law. However, due to recently issued Home Office guidance on the law, there are other criteria for which products must adhere to, specifically relating to there being no more than 1mg of THC in any product or container. We have set out the law relating to the legality of cannabis products below for reference:
The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (“MDR”) - Applicable law and exemptions
A) The 0.2% THC Threshold (applicable to hemp extracts):
In spite of general prohibitions relating to cannabis and certain cannabinoids, the MDR provides a legal exemption for hemp extracts, which contain small amounts of banned cannabinoids. The Home Office allows the cultivation of, and extraction from, approved hemp seed types, and these seed types will typically yield a THC content not exceeding 0.2%. Therefore, hemp extract products can lawfully contain up to 0.2% THC content.
B) The Exempt Product Criteria:
Regulation 2 of the MDR provides that some products may, in certain circumstances, be considered ‘exempt’ from control (notwithstanding their ‘controlled drug’ content). The criteria for a product to be considered an exempt product is set out below: "exempt product" means a preparation or other product consisting of one or more component parts, any of which contains a controlled drug, where—
(a) the preparation or other product is not designed for administration of the controlled drug to a human being or animal;
(b) the controlled drug 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 or one microgram in the case of lysergide or any other N-alkyl derivative of lysergamide; '
Recently issued Home Office guidance advises that part (c) of the above text be interpreted to mean one milligram of controlled substance per container. This means that any container of CBD oil may contain up to one milligram of THC (or any other banned cannabinoid).
As you may be aware, the above correlates with the phasing out of our full spectrum products. As an alternative to full spectrum, we would highly recommend trying the next best thing: broad spectrum. To find out more, click here to read our blog post on 'The Benefits of Broad Spectrum'
We can confirm that all products imported, manufactured and sold by Hemp Botanics are compliant with UK law and should not have been subject to seizures. Unfortunately, the UK Border Force are not familiar with the law, and subsequent recent guidance, and are taking an overly cautious approach to any shipments coming into the UK.
We want to assure customers that we have worked and will continue working, as hard as we can to restore the high level of service that you are used to, and we are grateful for your patience and understanding during this uncertain period for the industry.