The executive body of the European Union has frozen all applications of hemp extracts and natural cannabinoids under Novel Food regulation, claiming these are actually narcotic products. If this position is confirmed, there is a risk of inflicting a fatal would on the European hemp sector, depriving farmers not only of a culture that contributes to sustainable growth, but most importantly of a valuable source of income. What sounds the most ironic about this perspective? CBD would remain on the market, but only in its synthetic form, produced through chemical manufacturing processes.
The European Commission came to the preliminary conclusion that hemp extracts and therefore CBD, qualify as “drugs” under EU legislation. This analysis has been forwarded to all applicants operating on the European market. The decision does not seem to be based on the latest scientific literature nor on the United Nations texts. EIHA’s president Daniel Kruse underlines how the EU is not simply jeopardizing a newborn and blooming sector (as this, per se, wasn’t already ludicrous enough). It is also setting all member countries back, potentially of decades, in tapping into the business potential of hemp products, ultimately undermining the progress of national economies.
It is worth noting that applications to authorize synthetic cannabinoids have already been accepted under the Novel Food regulation. EIHA commented that authorizing synthetic extracts, but not natural ones, is a contradiction from a scientific as well as an environmental standpoint. On the one hand, because the final product from the point of view of chemical composition is the same and, on the other hand, because the chemical processes that are carried out require the use of polluting products and do not store carbon. Moreover, “the authorization of synthetic extracts alone would deprive farmers and food operators of a market opportunity that is bound to generate an important revenue in these times of crisis”.
In its statement, EIHA procedes then to note how labeling natural extracts as narcotics will inevitably damage the hemp industry as a whole in Europe, and make it easier for illegal and non-compliant products to take over the market. “In an ideal world, the Commission should work with the industry and the other European institutions to ensure, in full transparency, a fair market for operators and a safe, high-quality product.”