A trade association has been formed to promote the legal, safe and regulated supply of cannabis-based products.
The new body, the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), which was launched during a conference by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) on Friday, set up a quality charter for the UK as it seeks to ensure patients’ safety is not compromised.
Bodies including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have called for increased and clearer regulation of CBD products in the UK in the wake of a review by CMC that revealed just 38 per cent of 30 oils assessed as part of a study were correctly labelled.
Nearly half of the products had traces of THC (mean content 0.04%) or CBN (mean content 0.01%), making them illegal in the UK, while one product contained 3.8 per cent ethanol which qualified it as an alcoholic beverage.
Insiders said the ACI, created as a result of a six-month consultation between key stakeholders, will bring together “leading businesses and experts committed to fostering a legally compliant, socially responsible and innovative CBD industry which puts customers’ safety first.”
Dr Andy Yates, CMC pharmacy lead, said: “There is no ambiguity in what the regulators want – they want fully legally compliant products on the market. As we have long advocated, the doors have closed for the current approach used by some manufacturers by claiming that the rules are somehow different for the cannabis industry.
“This new initiative exists to ensure that our members are fully compliant to an agreed set of terms with the relevant regularly bodies, ensuring consumer can continue to access legal, safe and quality CBD products. Those who sign up to the ACI charter will need to put their products under intense, but necessary scrutiny, analysing manufacturing process, assessing claims and using, where required, toxicology studies to prove a product is safe.”
In a letter (below) on November 4 to Independent Community Pharmacist from Yates, signed by 12 manufacturers, CMC pledged to commit to the standards set out in the charter.
Over the past five years, CBD has become one of the fastest growing products in the wellness category. However, this popularity with consumers - testimony to the abundant dedication and innovation within the sector - has not been accompanied by the necessary development of accepted industry standards.
Today, as founding members of the newly formed Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) we, the undersigned, pledge to change this.
In January the EU classified all extracts of hemp and derived products containing cannabinoids (including CBD) as novel foods. The Foods Standards Agency has made a public commitment to enforce this. Together these declarations have profound implications for our nascent UK industry.
Our commitment today is to unequivocally embrace this new era for the sector. We are committing our respective companies not just to becoming fully legally compliant by applying for Novel Foods authorisation but by pledging to commit to all the standards set out in the new Association for the Cannabinoid Industry Quality Charter.
Critically, in light of recent press stories we need to, as a matter of urgency, develop common protocols relating to the standardisation of analytical testing methodologies if we are to reassure the public that products contain what they say on the label.
This together with unwavering commitment to seeking Novel Foods authorisation and the other ACI Charter standards is the very foundation of a sustainable and enduring successful CBD market.
We commend this Charter to your readers and invite all other responsible companies in the sector to join us as signatories to a framework for the future.
Dr Andy Yates, pharmacy lead at the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis.
Signatories; Aurora, CannCrest, NextGen360, Materia Ventures, Colombia Care, CBD Science Group, Bold Rose Capital (Mary's), Brains Bioceuticals, Cannacares, Sativa Investments, Mile High Labs, Dragonfly Biosciences.