CBD products can’t be marketed or sold in Germany without further research, court rules

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CBD just ran into a brick wall in Germany.

A recent court ruling in the EU country reinforced the government’s position that products infused with the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis should be classified as a “novel food.”

Given to products that were not consumed widely before 1997, the classification means CBD-infused products will not be authorized for sale until further research is conducted, reports foodnavigator.com.

“The significance of the ruling, beyond the technical legal arguments made under German law, is that it reaffirms that CBD hemp flowering bud extracts (as well as CBD ‘crystals’) when marketed as food or food supplements are unauthorized novel foods,” said Luca Bucchini, managing director of Hyloblates Consulting, a food regulation specialist.

“Therefore, authorities were right in blocking the commercialization of the products.”

Adding hemp extracts to the list of novel foods has led to “much upset and discussion in the industry,” Bucchini said, as it appeared to contradict direction issued earlier this year by the EU. The distinction, however, lies in the fact that even though hemp itself was used prior to 1997, extracts from plant are being used to create novel products not in use before then.

Few countries in the European Union have seriously enforced the CBD policy, leaving a patchwork of unregulated markets across the continent.

“Many are convinced that the EU is — or is heading — in the same direction as the U.S., where CBD products are not compliant with some provisions of U.S. law (while compliant with others), but where enforcement is not exercised,” Bucchini said.

Prohibition Partners, a data and analytics company, told The Cannabis Exchange that this uncertainty could be disastrous for the industry. “[In] Austria and Spain … the enforcement of the Novel Foods Regulation by the authorities led to the CBD food market to come to a standstill in 2018… Because no single application for approval of a novel food with regard to a CBD product has yet been approved.”

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