The Czech government suspends its plan to ban CBD and will study specific regulation

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The Czech government has announced that it is reversing the declarations banning CBD in the country and will continue to study regulations relating to CBD and other hemp-derived cannabinoids.

“We have agreed that the upcoming measure regulating the sale of CBD will not come into force now,” said Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who said a working group had begun a review aimed at developing “rules clear and predictable” for hemp products.

Under the overturned ban, all foods and dietary supplements containing cannabinoids, as well as cosmetics containing hemp-derived cannabinoids, would have been removed from the market. The ministry said it was following a strict interpretation of European Union rules that designate CBD isolate as a novel food subject to safety checks by the European Food Safety Authority. (EFSA).

Certain relief for the industry

In his tweet, the Prime Minister said the ban would have resulted in “a major complication for users of this substance and for a number of Czech entrepreneurs”.

As in all European countries, CBD is sold in the Czech Republic in the form of oils, tinctures, capsules, candies and other edible products, and it is present in many health and beauty products on the market.

The European Commission ruled in December 2020 that CBD is not a narcotic and can be classified as a food if it meets the relevant provisions of EU food law. The decision also stated that CBD products should benefit from the same free movement of goods between and among member states as other legal products.

EFSA has begun reviewing various forms of CBD to approve them for EU markets under novel food rules. During this review, however, EFSA found it had difficulty assessing this type of product and paused its application process on several occasions.

Was HHC a trigger?

The proposed ban on CBD products may have been prompted by the emergence of HHC, a synthetic psychoactive compound that is said to mimic the “high” of cannabis and is made by subjecting CBD to a “semi-synthetic” process. The Czech Republic has been identified as one of 20 or more EU countries where HHC products have emerged, prompting the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction to issue health warnings.

The Czech government issued HHC warnings in March, urging consumers not to consume these products due to potential health risks.

In addition to reactions from local stakeholders, the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) criticized the Czech government for not considering hemp extracts containing natural levels of cannabinoids as traditional foods.

Three levels offered

The EIHA called for a European policy that would establish a three-tier safety system that would place CBD in the categories of Traditional Foods, Novel Foods and Medicines, based on concentration.

While isolated and fortified extracts should be considered novel foods, full-spectrum extracts containing natural levels of cannabinoids (unfortified extracts) should be considered mainstream foods that do not require pre-marketing approval. market, according to the association.

The EIHA called on the Czech government to take “a balanced, historically accurate and transparent decision on the issue of the commercialization of hemp extracts”.

“Together we will find a solution that will benefit everyone,” said Czech Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Bartoš who, together with Agriculture Minister Zdeněk Nekula, took part in the discussions that led to the end of the ban on CBD.

At the same time, the country has announced the legalization of cannabis anyway.

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