Follow us
Beauty Business Global / Local Industry Opinion Policy

Crackdown on CBD Distributors in Spain – What’s Next for the EU?

CBD illegal EU
Written by Nimm Terkel

Warning letters have been sent and the police, accompanied by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) raided one of the biggest CBD distributors in Spain. Other companies have reported getting similar letters.

Following up on the article written last month: BREAKING: CBD Might Become Illegal For Human Consumption In Spain, the Spanish authorities have moved from warning letters to actions against big CBD distributors in Spain. We have learned that warning letters have been sent and the police have taken action against some shops and CBD distributors, taking products off the shelves!

We have already contacted a few of them (among them very well-known CBD distributors) and while some of them have confirmed these events, we still wait for their official response. Until then, let’s look at the current situation and try to understand the legislation and the regulatory framework.

The crackdown on CBD distributors as a necessary step

Even though it is very frustrating for the CBD distributors, I believe it is a necessary step for the accessibility.

Let me explain:

Starting in 2018, cannabidiol (i.e. CBD oil) is no longer prohibited under the S8 Cannabinoids category and has been exempt from the Narcotics Act/Controlled Substance Act by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). Moreover, The W.H.O. (World Health Organization) has officially recommended on December 14, 2017, that cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) not be internationally scheduled as a controlled substance.

This brought joy to the streets and started the green rush of the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, the legal gateway. Producers, start-ups, shops, online stores… everyone wanted to take part in the industry that just became ‘legal’. Big investments were made in cultivation and production, grocery shops became CBD dispensaries and products were distributed.

But everyone jumped too soon…

It was just the first step of decriminalization, but it did not grant proper regulations for production and safety requirements for human consumption, i.e. nutritional food supplements. Questions such as what is the product? What does it do? Is it safe? What is the preferred dosage? etc. must be answered.

The problem with unregulated products is that the supplier/producer can write whatever he wants, with no oversight of production, no standards for good practices and even no CBD in the CBD products, as the mislabeling problem proved.

According to the site, “Over the past several years, The FDA (United States Food & Drug Administration) has issued several warning letters to firms that market unapproved new drugs that allegedly contain cannabidiol (CBD). As part of these actions, FDA has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed. It is important to note that these products are not approved by FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease.”

Registration in the NOVEL FOOD CATALOG

The next step for CBD distributors is the registration of CBD in the NOVEL FOOD CATALOG by the EFSA

The next step for CBD distributors is the registration of CBD in the NOVEL FOOD CATALOG by the EFSA

The next step is the registration of CBD in the NOVEL FOOD CATALOG by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority).

Novel food is defined as food that has not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before the 15th of May, 1987. Examples of novel foods are extracts from existing food, agricultural products from third world countries, or food derived from new production processes. The underlying principals in the European Union are that novel foods must be:

  1. SAFE for Consumers (e.g. by studies)
  2. Properly labeled, so as not to mislead consumers.

Extracts of Cannabis sativa L. (i.e. hemp oil) in which cannabidiol (CBD) levels are higher than the CBD levels in the source Canabis sativa L. are considered novel in food. In the European Union, the cultivation of Cannabis sativa L. varieties is granted provided they are registered in the EU’s ‘Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species’ and the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content does not exceed 0.2 % of the plant.


A bit confused? So are the authorities, distributors and consumers alike. Hence the word “novel”. This means, until CBD is registered in the Novel Food catalog it will be illegal to sell and consume as a nutritional food supplement. Meaning, until it is not “proven” SAFE and labeling is well-defined with a docket number attached, it can be used only as a dermal product, “FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY”.

We will know more in the up-coming weeks and rest assured we will have the answers needed to continue to promote this revolutionary compound of wellness and health. It cannot be stopped. The industry is moving forward, but for every 2 steps taken forward one step is taken back, as happens always in the cannabis industry.

Keep following us for more news and updates as we unfold the future of CBD and medical cannabis regulations alike. Comment below, join our weekly newsletter and stay up-to-date on this evolving crucial matter. We are here for you and can help you maneuver this “novel” industry, with us you will stay one step ahead.

***Any opinions stated in this article belong solely to the author and do not reflect***

Have anything to add? Your voice matters! Join the conversation and contribute your insights and ideas below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

About the author

Nimm Terkel

Nimm Terkel is the VP of sales for CBD-Testers with more than 10 years experience in the global and Israeli cannabis industry. He has accumulated vast knowledge, experience and understanding in regulations and market development of cannabis based products in the US, Israel and Europe.