CBD list in UK to crack open legal market pegged at nearly $1 billion

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CBD stakeholders in the UK are anticipating the release of a list of compliant products from food safety authorities expected any day as they look to gain footholds in the world’s second-biggest CBD market.

“The UK’s consumer health sector is set for its biggest shake-up in more than a decade when the Food Standards Agency (FSA) releases its eagerly-awaited public list of cannabinoid products permitted for sale to consumers,” the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) said in a press release announcing it has opened a website that will track those products approved for the market.

Publication of the list is “imminent,” according to ACI, which estimated the UK CBD market at roughly £690 million ($929 million/€824 million) in 2021.

‘Novel’ foods

Like the European Union, UK’s FSA determined that food products containing CBD are subject to safety standards that apply to new or “novel” foods. Only products that meet those standards make the list and will be able to stay on the market. The approval system applies to England and Wales.

FSA reported in October that it had rejected roughly 650 of 800+ CBD products in a review process that bogged down due to a greater than expected number of applications, raising concern among some companies that they may not be able to stay in business to the end of the process. The agency, which has been evaluating the safety of CBD products for the past 18 months, said in October it had approved a total of 43 products.

Immediate enforcement

Any CBD product formulated for oral use that was on sale in the UK gray market on or before Feb. 13, 2020 was eligible to apply for novel food status under a deadline of March 31 last year.

ACI said it expects Trading Standards officers will begin to monitor the sector immediately once the list is public, which means companies that continue to sell unlisted CBD products will be putting themselves at risk of enforcement action.

The new ACI web platform will enable consumers, retailers and health practitioners to ensure they are buying and selling only permitted products, the Association said.

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