ACI’s Recommendations to Expedite the Authorisation Process for Ingestible CBD Products

The ACI calls on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Home Office to work together to resolve the outstanding issues stalling progress on British novel food applications.

In a fresh bid to bring to a close the regulatory stalemate threatening an entire sector, the Association has produced a new white paper underlining the need for constructive engagement between the respective authorities.

The paper draws on a wide-ranging consultation across the UK’s consumer cannabinoid industry to establish a clear and legal framework to safeguard the future of the sector. Five years on from the European Commission’s declaration that ingestible products containing cannabinoids were to be considered as novel foods, and four years since the FSA followed suit, the future of thousands of products and an entire sector now hangs in the balance.

Steve Moore, ACI co-founder said: “Whilst the attempts by both the Home Office and the Food Standards Agency to allow CBD products to continue on the market is commendable, the processes have taken too long, become too confused and have not been sufficiently co-ordinated. The agency and the department should take account of the recommendations in this report. Together they provide a path to expedite the legal and regulation frameworks the industry has been crying out for and invested millions of pounds towards progress.”

Timeline of related events

  • 2019 – All extracts of hemp and derived products containing cannabinoids (including CBD) regarded by the European Commission (EC) as novel.
  • 2020 – The Food Standards Agency (FSA) adopts the same approach as the EC.
  • 31 March 2021 – CBD manufacturers and brands submit their novel food applications to the FSA.
  • May 2021 – A report reveals that sales of CBD products for 2021 are to be valued at £690 million.
  • December 2021 – The government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) makes a series of recommendations for a legal framework to the Home Office.
  • Spring 2022 – The FSA publishes a register of ingestible products containing cannabinoids which have been initially successful in the early stages of their novel food applications. These brands and manufacturers are invited to provide further evidence to proceed to the next stage.
  • October 2023 – The FSA provides updated consumer guidance for CBD
  • October 2023 – The Home Office broadly accepts the position of the ACMD two years prior.