Not all is doom and gloom on the cannabis front in Europe, no matter the frustrating red tape, delays, and inevitable lawsuits.
Indeed, this week the European Commission released news of two important developments that will certainly move the industry forward regionally. This is true even if further legal action is required in specific jurisdictions. With reform at an EU level, this creates the opportunity for policy and regulatory changes in individual countries like never before. One very good example of this is the Kanavape case in France, which was raised to an EU-level legal challenge, and which, in turn, spawned a similar lawsuit in Germany to allow imported hemp products.
The first announcement is absolutely going to impact hemp production. The second is going to move the needle on setting EU-wide standards on the cultivation front.
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.
Validation of 5 Novel Food Applications
At least five companies in the EU have just received news that their Novel Food CBD cases have reached the final stages of the Novel Food process. These companies are located in the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, France, and a British company.
Novel Food regulation is much misunderstood outside of Europe — and even within its borders there is plenty of confusion. Essentially, this regulation states that if a plant has not been in wide circulation and widely consumed since 1997, it must go through a separate compliance process. When this is applied to cannabis it broadly means three things — the source of the seed, its cultivation, and how it is extracted.
The fact, however, that five of these applications have reached the final level of EU-wide approvals is good news for the entire industry. The entire conversation has been delayed for the last two years thanks not only to COVID, but also to EU-level discussions, as well as international ones on how to proceed with the entire legalization of cannabis.
EC Panel to Vote on THC Levels in Food
Perhaps the two-year delay on all things cannabis, even hemp related, is beginning to break through the legal and regulatory logjam at the EC. Maybe it is the end of COVID, or an understanding, even at this nosebleed level, that reform is not going to go 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. This is after having delayed the decision twice now.
Under the proposal, which will be considered next Monday, February 28, the level for hempseed derived oil will be set at 7.5 mg/kg while dry hemp foods like dehulled hemp seeds, flour, and protein powder will be limited to 3 mg/kg. Hemp seeds contain almost zero THC, but trace amounts are present in the hulls.
Toward a Consolidated, Common Sense Policy on the EU Front?
It is far too early to celebrate on any front, despite the fact that this month has seen the regulatory advance of two big issues of the hemp discussion at a regional level. However, perhaps it is not too optimistic to hope that the achingly slow advance is now coming to an end. Beyond this, the temperature toward cannabis reform generally has moved forward in the meantime, and in fairly large and meaningful ways.
These are, in fact, large decisions and steps to accomplish. For that reason, there is cause to cheer, even though the details are still often lost in the weeds.