While the WHO essentially punted on cannabis reform last week, there was a bit of bright news on the horizon in Europe – namely that the European Commission revised its stance on the idea that CBD should be treated as a narcotic.
This is a huge development, although not unsurprising given the recent ruling in Strasbourg on the right to import “legally” produced CBD between European countries based on the trial of a French company engaged in the same.
However, this development is still tempered with the fact that the WHO has kept the plant itself (the genus Cannabis Sativa L) as a Schedule I plant. That includes hemp.
Ultimately, however, beyond this distinction, the jury is still out on whether and when European authorities will also decide that the plant and its extracts, by traditional means, are further not “novel,” but rather governed under other regulations (such as EU-BIO). Stay tuned.
Extraction, Processing And Labelling Are All In The Mix
With hemp products of all kinds hitting mainstream grocery stores in Germany, this development will clearly provide at least some forward motion for an industry that has repeatedly hit regulatory jags across the region since 2016. But the fight is far from over.
Novel Food regulation looms as a bane not only of the hemp industry but also of the entire recreational discussion. The reason? The source of the seed plus the method of extraction, as well as its final addition to the end product are all in the mix.
This is still, in other words, dangerous territory for just about everyone. Understanding the regulations, and how to apply them, are still the most important aspect of all in the mix.
How Does The EC Decision Interact With The WHO Vote?
The first place this will impact is cultivation. Farmers will have to register and certify their crops – starting with all the regulatory steps around organic production (if bound for anything but industrial purposes) and cultivation in the first place.
Beyond that, within Europe, producers will have to be willing to certify their supply chains – although this again may not mandate that the distinction is one that is “novel.”
Indeed Europe has become a place, much like the United States, where hemp products are almost, but not entirely regulated.
Regardless of the still remaining bumps along the way, however, it is clear that 2021 is going to be a good year for the industry across the EU.
Be sure to attend the next International Cannabis Business Conferences when they return to Europe.