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European Commission Makes Two Big Steps on CBD Reform Front

It is not all bad news on Europe’s marijuana front. Despite the delays, frustrations and inevitable lawsuits, it isn’t all grim.

This week, the European Commission revealed two major developments that will definitely propel the industry regionally. Even if additional legal action in certain jurisdictions is necessary, this is still true. Reform at the EU level opens up new opportunities for regulatory and policy changes in specific countries. The Kanavape Case in France is a good example. It was brought up to the EU and triggered a comparable lawsuit in Germany for the approval of imported hemp products.

Hemp production will be impacted by the first announcement. This second announcement will move the needle in setting EU-wide cultivation standards.

No matter how long and torturous the wait has been, including thanks to COVID delays, there is indeed light at the end of this canna-tunnel that ain’t just another train.

5 New Food Applications Validated

Five companies from the EU just got news that Novel Food CBD cases had reached the end of the Novel Food process. The companies can be found in France, Switzerland, France and the Czech Republic. 

Novel Food regulation is much misunderstood outside of Europe — and even within its borders there is plenty of confusion. The regulation says that plants must be in separate compliance if they have not been used extensively or are no longer in general circulation since 1997. When this is applied to cannabis it broadly means three things — the source of the seed, its cultivation, and how it is extracted.

The good news is that the industry has received approvals from five of these applicants at the EU-wide level. For the past two-years, the conversation was stalled due not only to COVID but also to EU and international discussions about how to move forward with legalization.

EC Panel Votes on THC Levels in Food

Maybe the two-year wait on cannabis reform, including hemp, may be over. It could be the end COVID. Or perhaps it is an acknowledgment, even at this level of nosebleed, that reform isn’t going away.

Regardless, the EC’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed is again scheduled to vote on a proposal that would raise the level of acceptable THC in marketable hemp foods in Europe. The decision was delayed twice before.

According to the proposed proposal which will be considered next Tuesday, February 28, 2018, the maximum level of hempseed-derived oil (7.5 mg/kg) will be established. However, dry hemp foods such as dehulled hemp seed, flour and protein powder will remain at 3 mg/kg. The hulls of hemp seeds are almost completely free from THC.

Towards a Common Sense, Consolidated Policy of the EU Front

Although this month saw the regulation advancement of two major issues in the hemp debate at the regional level, it is still too soon to be celebrating on any front. Perhaps it’s not unrealistic to think that the slow but steady progress may be coming to an abrupt halt. The temperature towards cannabis reform overall has advanced in the interim, though in significant and meaningful ways.

This is a complex task that requires many decisions and steps. This is why there are reasons to celebrate, even if the details often remain lost among the weeds.