Beginning April 1st 2021 only validated CBD products will be allowed to be sold on the UK market. Companies must apply for a novel foods licence in order to keep selling their CBD products in the UK.
With less than six months to go until the deadline, the CBD industry is scrambling to prepare for the changes in legislation. The Food Standards Agency is focused on preventing the sale of unauthorized and unregulated CBD products. Regulation will provide more consumer confidence in the industry, as only CBD products that have been through a rigorous testing and certification procedure will legally be able to be sold in the UK.
July 2020 brought uncertainty to the European CBD market, as the EU commission announced that they are considering reclassifying CBD as a narcotic instead of a novel food. Since the UK is leaving the EU in January 2021, this ruling will not apply to the UK market and the Food Standards agency in the UK is not considering reclassifying CBD as a narcotic. This leads to an interesting situation where the UK may become a central hub for CBD production and sales in Europe due to the different status.
Much is unclear at the moment, and it is yet to be seen which CBD companies will be left standing after the April 1st deadline. The novel foods licence is not cheap, and smaller companies have had to band together to put in joint applications for their CBD products. Suppliers and retailers alike are unsure about what will happen next year, but many believe the the change will be highly positive as only highly regulated CBD brands will be available on the market, removing uncertainty about quality and providence of CBD products and building a greater consumer trust in the CBD industry as whole.