Article by Cannabis Culture
To call the current situation with CBD and related products in the UK ‘confusing’ might qualify as the understatement of the decade. As time passes, a growing number of MPs and influential figures are calling British pot policy everything from dangerously outdated to an embarrassment on the world stage. There’s no short answer to the question on recreational cannabis legalization – decriminalising medical cannabis is another matter entirely.
In terms of legality, the fact that CBD is not covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 means that any product that contains CBD and no other cannabis compounds doesn’t break current laws. If it contains the slightest trace of any other cannabis compound – such as THC – it would require a license to be sold. This is a point that was heavily debated three years ago and led to the development and release of a fairly wide range of CBD products.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Home Office confirmed that where any THC at all is present in the product: “a Home Office licence to import this substance – or a preparation containing it – would be required, irrespective of the proportion of THC in that preparation. In addition, there may also be a requirement for a Home Office domestic possess [sic]and supply licence.” Figures are hard to come by, but it’s highly unlikely that more than a handful…perhaps none at all…of those producing and selling CBD products.
A little while later, the Home Office released updated guidance to help the courts and police decipher what is and isn’t considered an illegal substance, which read as follows:
“A substance produces a psychoactive effect in a person if, by stimulating or depressing the person’s central nervous system, it affects the person’s mental functioning or emotional state; as measured by the production of a pharmacological response on the central nervous system or which produces a response in in-vitro tests qualitatively identical to substances controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and references to a substance’s psychoactive effects are to be read accordingly.”
When taking into account these exclusions, the Misuse of Drugs Act and the way in which the Act chooses to define psychoactive, THC does indeed appear to break the law. Which once again leaves producers, sellers and users having little clue as to where they stand.