Today we’ve seen the FSA come out swinging against CBD brands by setting a 2021 deadline to apply for novel food authorisation.
The FSA are finally making a bold move here after letting regulation issues permeate for years. It’s hardly news to any of us that CBD products on the high street have lacked the appropriate authorisation until this point, and that CBD brands have been operating within loopholes.
Indeed, those within the UK cannabis industry have seen that a lack of information around the content of products has been tolerated in recent years and it’s been customers in the UK who’ve been paying the price, with little to no idea about what they’re actually consuming. But now, thankfully, this looks set to change.
By the 31st of March 2021, companies need to have submitted a valid application to the FSA to remain on the market. It is hoped that this move will bring an end to the safety concerns that have plagued the UK CBD market for years now, by ultimately providing consumers with the information they deserve.
So how is this going to affect the UK’s CBD market?
First of all, we predict that we’re going to start seeing CBD companies doubling down on their sales efforts until the deadline, with brands pushing their goods before it’s too late. It will be interesting to see who survives the March 2021 cull, and who will vanish due to lack of compliance, a lack of funds to see the application process through and a lack of revenue in what will likely become a challenging CBD trading year.
We’ll also obviously see reputable CBD companies applying for novel food authorisation. Those who have the evidence to back up their claims will emerge as winners in this situation, as they will continue to sell products that work while less scrupulous competitors fall by the wayside.
Something we look forward to seeing is the uncertainty in the CBD industry diminishing as it becomes clearer for UK consumers what CBD products they should buy. The therapeutic potential CBD exhibits continues to get more exciting as new research emerges in this field, so we hope that in the wake of this new regulation the actual therapeutic value of CBD will finally be made distinguishable from placebo effects that exist amid marketing hype.
Another thing we expect to see is the industry lobbying for clarification around this move so they can understand what happens following the cut off date. There is a sense that the March 2021 deadline is set in stone, but what actions will be taken after this date with those businesses that have not complied and fallen in line? These questions remain unanswered currently.
As such, with the potential repercussions around a lack of compliance remaining relatively unknown, our overriding advice to all CBD brands is to make contingency plans for a variety of scenarios. We already know the CBD industry is ever-changing and fast-moving, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see a Darwinian survival of the fittest type situation ensuing where only the most adaptable CBD companies survive these new measures.