The UK recently recognized Cannabis as having medicinal use! They also passed new CBD Laws that may affect you.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has found that Cannabidiol (CBD) has a “restoring, correcting or modifying” effect on “physiological functions” when administered to humans.
This is a double-edged sword for the general public:
In the long term, it will lead to regulated, reliable, and ultimately higher quality medicines.
However, in the short term, it may restrict general access to purchasing CBD, and it may also put several smaller CBD companies out of business.
What does this mean for Consumers?
For consumers, these new UK CBD laws mean that many of the stores and online shops that used to sell CBD products will soon disappear – as companies were given 28 days to comply with the new regulations or face 2 years in prison.
“CBD-only legislation can be detrimental overall for the medical marijuana movement because it leaves behind too many patients,” Deputy Director for the Drug Policy Alliance, Michael Collins told the Huffington Post. “The majority of medical marijuana patients are not CBD patients. We want people to have access to CBD but not at the cost of getting access to broader medical marijuana.”
However, this change applies to suppliers of the products, not to consumers. According to a response directly from the MHRA:
There is no requirement for a member of the public to notify us of the importation of medicines for personal use and the legislation does not restrict such importation. Consequently, we do not issue any form of licence, certificate or authorisation to aid personal importation. We consider personal use to involve the use of the products by yourself or your immediate family or household; under such importation an individual must not sell or supply imported medicines onward as this would be considered placing the product onto the market.
Up to a 3 month supply of a medicine is considered to be an acceptable quantity for personal use, HM Revenue and Customs can prevent importation if large quantities are being imported and/or they have suspicions that the product is not being imported for personal use. There is more information on the HM Revenue and Customs website at the link below:
Individuals are advised to investigate whether the product(s) to be imported would be categorised as controlled substances in the UK. Controlled drugs are regulated by the Home Office under the Misuse of Drugs Act, and can require a licence to allow their entry into the UK. Further information can be found at the link below:
And they also offer this wise caveat:
Buying medicines through unregulated sources can put you at serious risk as you have no idea what you are getting and how it will affect you. If you require treatment for a medical condition then we recommend you speak to a GP or your pharmacist. Prescription and pharmacy medicines should always be obtained from a legitimate high street or online pharmacy.
If you are considering purchasing a medicine over the internet then you should look for sites that display the EU pharmacy logo – as this means a site is registered with us:
As for having Cannabis medicines posted to you in the UK, the MHRA had this to say:
Anyone posting packages containing medicines are advised to include a copy of the prescription and/or a letter from the patient’s doctor explaining why the product(s) are required; the package should be clearly labelled on the outside stating the contents of the package and that the products are for personal use. Medicines should be kept in their original packaging and should be transported in accordance with storage conditions specified by the Manufacturer (this not only helps identify the medicines, but also helps ensure the product’s stability).
What do new UK CBD Laws mean for Importers, Manufacturers, and Retailers?
If you currently sell any product containing CBD, you will now need to ensure that product is licensed in the UK.
As a retailer or online shop, this means your supplier will need to ensure they are supplying you with licensed products, and each product will need separate licensing. The MHRA did not comment on this, however it may be wise to apply for a mandatory EU logo for selling medicines online.
The application for an EU logo for selling medicines online can be found here:
This application costs £100 with a £97 annual renewal fee, but the benefits are that you can sell medicines online to people throughout the EU. You will get a Logo to display on your website that will contain a link to Your entry in the MHRA’s list of registered online sellers. The only catch is that any product you sell must be licensed in whatever country it is bought in. So if “Person A” in Germany buys “Product X“, then you need to ensure that “Product X” is licensed as a medicine in Germany, etc.
This leaves the largest burden on manufacturers and importers, who must ensure that their product is licensed to be marketed in the UK, and any other EU member state they wish it to be sold in. This can cost anywhere from £50,000 to several hundred-thousand Pounds.
The application for a UK National License can be found here:
The application for an EU wide EMA License can be found here:
The EU wide EMA license will cover the UK, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein, and all EU Member States. So this would be the most forward-looking license to apply for if you are a CBD manufacturer or distributor.
This information is based on correspondence with the MHRA and is intended to be an informative guide only. It is not intended as legal advice.