Unfolding a new chapter for CBD flower businesses, an impactful ruling in the UK’s Court of Appeal is igniting undeniable hope. This ruling could signify a seismic shift in how the burgeoning industry operates, leading to profound implications for businesses involved in importing and selling CBD or low-THC hemp flower. The foggy path forward may still contain uncertainties, but the Court’s unambiguous interpretation of hemp flower with less than 0.2% THC as non-narcotic is, without a doubt, a game-changer!
- The UK Court of Appeal rules hemp flower with THC content below 0.2% is not considered a narcotic drug.
- The verdict potentially reduces the risk of criminal prosecution for businesses.
- The successful argument rests on EU law, which overrides UK legislation and regards hemp flower as an agricultural commodity, not a narcotic.
- The Misuse of Drugs Act, which treats hemp flower as a controlled substance, is found to be a restricting factor on hemp movement.
- Businesses involved in trading CBD flower prior to the UK’s official exit from the EU (January 31, 2020) can now leverage the new judgment to defend their actions.
Diving Into The Details
The court case that led to this pivotal decision revolves around Uncle Herb, a prominent online CBD flower retailer in the UK. The company, co-owned by Eleanor Margiotta and Dean Taylor, found itself under fire when customs intercepted a shipment of flowers from Italy in September 2019. This action led to accusations of importing prohibited goods and supply of cannabis, leaving the owners facing terrifying prospects of criminal charges.
After confronting crippling uncertainties and threats to their business’s survival, the owners mounted a successful defense. Margiotta, representing herself in court, argued that EU law in place at the time didn’t allow any restrictions on cannabis sativa movements if the THC level was below 0.2%. The Crown Court agreed, ruling no offense occurred, essentially dismissing the Misuse of Drugs Act as a hindering regulation. A subsequent CPS appeal was dismissed in the Court of Appeal, reinforcing the initial decision.
Far-Reaching Effects and Nuances
This ruling’s consequences delve into some complexities. Notably, businesses cannot use the same defense for activities after the UK’s exit from the EU on January 31, 2020. However, Robert Jappie, Life Sciences Partner at Fieldfisher, highlights the potential power of this verdict. In his view, it could compel the government to reconsider its stance towards non-narcotic CBD flowers.