Exhibitors at one of Europe’s cannabis largest trade shows were warned to stop selling illegal products which could ‘threaten the future of the whole industry’.
Mike Harlington, chairman of the Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) issued the stark message to business at the Hemp & CBD Expo in Birmingham, U.K.
To a packed audience, on the main stage at the NEC Exhibition Centre, he said: “The industry needs to understand the rules and help us build trust with the regulators, and the public. But unfortunately a lot of people will not behave.
Medical Claims Are Not Allowed
“We need to realise that if authorities do no trust us then the market will stagnate. I have walked around today and can see illegal products, still being sold – and this is almost four years after the start of industry.
“I get it; ‘why should I comply, if others do not?’ but just because your neighbor’s decided to do the gardening naked, it doesn’t mean you have to. But, unfortunately that is what some do; some are making medical claims to gain a competitive edge, but this is negatively affecting all of us in the industry.
“If they want to take away the industry, and they can very easily, then it will hurt every every single one of us, without exception; medical claims are not allowed and if we see it you will be banned – one and half million people in the U.K. are relying on your products.”
300 Europe Businesses Shut Down
He went on to say that some 70 CBD companies have been warned by U.K. authorities over the claims they have been making, and across Europe some 300 businesses have been shut down for running operations that do not comply with local laws.
He said across Europe it has contact with over 100 Government departments in over 20 countries.
Novel Food Is ‘Crazy’
On the designation of CBD as a Novel Food, in January this year, Mr Harlington warned businesses that making an application would be ‘crazy’, as once it has been made it cannot trade until approval has been granted, and this can take up to two years, costing hundreds of thousand of pounds.
He said the answer is compliance, and one way of achieving this is through the CTA’s TrustCanna initiative
Common Compliance Standards
Also speaking at the Hemp & CBD Expo was Peter Reynolds, of Cannabis Professionals or CannaPro, a second trade association for the U.K.’s cannabis, CBD and hemp industry. It has its own CannaPro certified badge as a mark of quality for consumers.
Speaking on the various compliance schemes, he said: “In the short to medium term I expect to see them all work alongside each other and if they do provide reassurance to consumers that’s a very good thing.
“In the longer term, CannaPro would be open to the possibility of an independent, third party quality mark if the entire industry could sign up to common standards.”