This Week In Weed – 17 February 2018

UK receives first bulk import of cannabis medicine

The UK received its first bulk import of medical cannabis this week. Finally! And on Valentine’s Day, too.

“To date, all imports have been for a single, predefined patient. This is the first time that product has been imported to be sold for future demand,” said Stephen Murphy, managing director of UK-based analytics company Prohibition Partners.

British medical cannabis startup Grow Biotech worked with IPS Specials and European Cannabis Holdings to facilitate the import from the Netherlands. The Office of Medical Cannabis of the Netherlands shipped the product to a UK pharmacy, and stock was retained to ensure continuity of supply.

“The first major shipment of 800 grams (1.8 pounds) of medicinal cannabis arrived in the UK on 14 February from the Netherlands, ending months of frustration for patients, doctors and carers,” Grow Biotech Chief Operating Officer Hari Guliani told Marijuana Business Daily.

The shipment comprised 400 grams of Bedrocan Flower Afina and 400 grams of Bedica Flower Talea.

“Pricing is still an issue in the UK, and lack of NHS support … but this is a major milestone in meaningful and sustained supply for patients in needs across the UK,” Murphy said.

Three patients received their medical cannabis from the shipment on 15 February, and the remaining stock is available for new prescriptions, Guliani said.

CBD panic buying after FDA ‘novel foods’ ruling

The prices of CBD-infused products rose by as much as 8,000% because of “panic buying” caused by the Food Standard Agency’s decision to follow a directive from the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) to reclassy them as “novel foods”.

Fearing the products could be removed from shelves, people rushed out to buy their favourite CBD products in bulk.

The EFSA’s justification for the guideline – which is currently only a submission, with a final verdict to be decided next month – is that “a history of consumption has not been demonstrated”!

This is, of course, nonsense – cannabis has been cultivated and consumed for millenia, it has just been suppressed for the past century because it would have undermined the profiteering of, among others, the fossil fuel and tobacco industries. Even more absurdly, it is well known that cannabis products have been consumed in the Netherlands since the 1970s.

A petition has been launched to oppose the move by the FSA. It says: “Cannabidiol (CBD) products could be classified as ‘novel foods’ and need European Food Safety Authority approval, potentially preventing millions of people buying products from which they are seeing huge benefits. Keep CBD on the market as a food supplement.”

While it potentially means that CBD products could be prohibited from the European market for up to three years, the typical time it takes for an ingredient to gain novel food status, it is thought that in practice CBD suppliers will be requested to provide evidence that the substance has been in widespread use as a food or an ingredient in food in the EU area before 1997.

In a Facebook post on 30 January the British Hemp Association said: “It is important to note that no enforcement action or timeline for action has been set, and FSA has guaranteed engagement with stakeholders prior to anything happening. We are aware of colleagues in various European member states having products arbitrarily confiscated – but as yet, nothing has been said by our own enforcement authorities. The big takeaway: business as usual, don’t panic, and #usehemp!”

Women buying cannabis products in California doubles in 2018

The number of women buying cannabis products in California doubled year-on-year in 2018, according to a company called Eaze.

“We see a strong majority of women are using cannabis for wellness reasons like personal care and improved sleep,” said Peter Gigante, head of policy research at Eaze.

The study also found a growth in the use of CBD products – such as face and body creams and bath bombs – among women boomers.

Guernsey gets island’s first licensed farm

Guersey has granted its first cannabis farming license to The Original Alternative. Permission has been given to cultivate low THC, high CBD plants at Le Douit Vinery, Vale.

The Original Alternative launched earlier this year as one of the first shops on the island to sell CBD products.

A second license application, again to grow low THC, high CBD cannabis plants, has been approved subject to completion of outstanding documentation.

In February 2018, Guernsey’s government announced that CBD oil with a concentration of less than 3% by weight would not be illegal to possess or supply.

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