When CBD regulations arrive they will be product specific, argued a leading ‘Magic Circle’ lawyer at the Europe CBD Expo in London.
Eveline Van Keymeule of International law firm Allen & Overy said there is currently huge uncertainty in the global CBD market with ‘regulators struggling to keep up with fast pace of the industry’.
“There are few harmonized rules with huge variations between geographies and product types and this is a challenge for businesses, investors and banks. When the regulations are formulated they will be product specific – different rules for the wide variety of CBD products; take, for example food and cosmetics – the rules cannot be harmonized.”
Oliver Zugel, founder and CEO of Colombian producer Foliumed, likened the current CBD market to the Gold Rush in the Klondike at the end of the 19th Century, with the industry attracting people from a variety of different backgrounds.
He believes that ‘within two years the CBD industry will be regulated‘ and once this happens many of the players in today’s market will have been ‘blown out of the water’, by the multinationals and the pharmaceutical industry.
However he argued that fleet-footed players will still be able operate in the area between these intensive, research-based pharma companies and the market-leading, consumer, packaged goods companies such as Coca-Cola.
He believes neither of these two types of businesses have the skills to operate effectively in the space between the two. Both were speaking on the first day of the two-day event at the ExCel Centre in East London.
Also speaking was Housam Nasr, COO of the London Canna Group, and he pushed back at suggestions that the cannabis market is already ‘saturated’. He said: “There are over 150 cannabinoids and the research into how they can help with various medical conditions has only just started. We are only just beginning, and there will be plenty of opportunities for new businesses and industry to flourish.”
Compliance and regulatory journalist Mark Taylor likened the cannabis industry to the on-line gambling industry of 15 years ago in the way regulators are trying to play catch-up.
He believes four possible market models will develop with free market or Government supply being two, permissive home-grow a third, and cannabis clubs such as in Spain the fourth; although the latter may prove less attractive as it will generate no tax revenues for authorities.
In Europe the vast majority of production will be in the sunnier Southern counties of Spain, Greece and Portugal, with the Northern European counties leading the way in capital markets and medical expertise, he said.