European Commission reverses course, says CBD should not be regulated as a narcotic
Makers of CBD foods and supplements no longer face the prospect of a blanket ban in Europe after the European Commission revised its preliminary stance that CBD should be treated as a narcotic.
The Commission sent a statement to the European Industrial Hemp Association and at least one other Novel Food authorization applicant on Wednesday that hemp-derived cannabidiol should not be regulated as a narcotic and therefore can qualify as a food.
The decision comes as a relief to Europe’s hemp industry, reassuring processors and manufacturers that their CBD edible products will not be banned from the EU market.
CBD was included in the EU’s Novel Food Catalogue in January 2019, and since then has required extensive testing and authorization from food safety authorities before it can be included in products and marketed as food across the bloc’s 27 member states.
The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, said in July it had stopped reviewing applications for pre-market authorization of CBD products while it decided whether CBD should be regulated as a narcotic.
The Commission cited last month’s Court of Justice ruling, which said CBD derived from the entire hemp plant is not a narcotic under an international drug treaty and is therefore subject to EU law on the free movement of goods among member states.
The Commission’s full statement to Novel Food authorization applicants reads as follows:
“In light of the comments received from applicants and of the recent Court’s judgment in case C-663/184, the Commission has reviewed its preliminary assessment and concludes that cannabidiol should not be considered as drug within the meaning of the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 in so far as it does not have psychotropic effect. As a consequence, cannabidiol can be qualified as food, provided that also the other conditions of Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No178/2002 are met.”