The United Kingdom (UK), the first country to formally regulate the market for consumer cannabinoid products, recently released a list of cannabinoid product legally permitted for sale.
Recently, we published an article about a new commission in the United Kingdom (UK) researching how to become a global leader in cannabinoid innovation (1). Now, in another step forward, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has released a list of permitted cannabinoid products in the UK.
The UK has become the first country to regulate the market for safe, orally consumed legal cannabis extracts, following the recent release of the FSA’s public list of cannabinoid products permitted for sale to consumers. Products designed to be inhaled, such as vapes, or applied to the skin, including cosmetics and massage oils, are not included on the list. Publication of the list follows two years of close cooperation between the FSA and the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), the UK’s cannabinoid sector trade body. According to the press release, full authorization is expected in 2023 (2,3).
“The FSA public list represents a major milestone for the UK’s CBD [cannabinoid] category. It demonstrates the progress the sector has made to meet compliance requirements and creates greater regulatory certainty which, in turn, will increase levels of consumer trust, encourage investment in the sector, and promote innovation,” said Steve Moore, ACI founder, in the press release (2,3). “ACI is immensely grateful for the work that our members and the FSA have put in to take this momentous step.”
The ACI is working in tandem with Trading Standards, a government authority that protects consumers (4), to enforce the new rules immediately, with any company offering unlisted cannabinoid products for sale facing possible action by its officers. Businesses selling cannabinoid products, including supermarkets, convenience stores, health food stores, pharmacies, online retailers, cafés, and restaurants, have been urged to check their current stock against the list to ensure they are compliant. ACI has also launched a new website, https://ukcbdlist.com/, to serve as a reference point enabling consumers, retailers, health practitioners, and enforcement authorities to verify whether a product is being sold legally.
“The release by the Food Standards Agency of the list of cannabinoid products permitted for sale to consumers in England and Wales is an important milestone for the cannabinoid sector in the UK. We welcome the release,” said Jeremy Willcocks, Partner at law firm Arnold & Porter. “Cannabinoid foods on the list can now be sold legally in England and Wales. Other cannabinoid food products need to be removed from sale. Today’s announcement brings welcome legal certainty which will encourage investment in the cannabinoid foods sector.The ACI has played an important role in this process and we congratulate the ACI for its terrific work.”
The UK’s market for consumer cannabinoid products was worth £690 million in 2021, according to ACI estimates—more than double the level of sales recorded in 2019, when the market was valued at £314 million. The UK is now the world’s second largest market for consumer cannabinoids, behind only the US.