The UK is home to GW pharmaceuticals, one of the most respected cannabinoid research and development names in the industry. The UK is also the world’s largest exporter of medical cannabis. Therefore, you would expect that CBD laws in the UK would be more reasonable, but it’s not the case.
When it comes to CBD flower, public opinion indicates that there could be a grey area on whether the flower is legal or not. But once you dive deep into the research, you quickly find out that it’s not!
We confirmed the legality of the CBD flower in the UK from one of the top cannabis law firms in the UK – Mackrell Solicitors.
Legal Definition of CBD Flower
Understanding the legality of CBD flowers starts with knowing the legal definition. Unlike marijuana flowers, CBD flowers are high in CBD and contain less than 0.2% of THC.
Hemp flower is considered “industrial hemp” when it contains less than 0.2% of THC in the UK. Industrial hemp is legal in the UK.
However, this legality has created a lot of confusion, especially among law enforcement. Because industrial hemp is legal, it sounds like a loophole that CBD flower buyers, sellers, and growers might use to supply the product.
But this loophole can also put well-meaning and legal retailers at loggerheads with the law. In some instances, the police might raid your store only to find CBD cannabis and leave without any arrests, and in others, they might make the raid, arrest you, charge you for trading illegal controlled drugs, and get a conviction.
It sounds like it’s a matter of the same product, a different opinion. Unfortunately, convictions have happened in the past and could continue.
CBD Flower Laws in the UK
As a result of the confusion among buyers and sellers, we received numerous inquiries about the CBD flower’s legality.
Over the past few years, the legality of CBD oil has cleared, but not much is known about hemp flower. We quickly found out that the laws on hemp flower were much clearer during the research than public opinions and discussions made it sound.
Some of the online arguments indicate if the hemp flower is not used for human consumption and is packaged the right way, with the THC levels below the allowed 0.2%, it can meet the criteria of an “exempted product by definition of regulation 2 of the MDR 2001.”
But this isn’t the case. When making this argument, THC is the controlled substance. But there’s a major component that is often overlooked. To quote Elliot Rolfe, Head of Psychoactive Medicines Law and Regulatory at Mackrell Solicitors, “The hemp flower itself is also a controlled substance on its own. Not just the THC. The whole flower. That means you cannot sell CBD flower in the UK.”
The UK law on CBD flowers is not only clear on the selling of CBD flower but also to other stakeholders in the industry as well:
- Growing CBD Plants in the UK – The UK is one of the leading exporters of cannabis products. However, it’s still illegal to grow CBD plants. You need a license from the UK Home Office. These permits are only issued to industrial hemp producers only.Issuing the permit involves rigorous testing, and the permitted is generally for medicinal cannabis growers. Once the permit is granted, the grower is then expected to adhere to laws of industrial hemp cultivation in the UK.
- Buying CBD flowers in the UK – It’s illegal to be in possession of CBD flowers as a seller or buyer. Unfortunately, some people still manage to buy the flowers, oblivious of the entire legal framework revolving around CBD flowers. You could get arrested and face hefty fines and jail term depending on the amount of CBD flowers in your possession.
Why are CBD Flowers Still on Sale?
Despite the obvious and clear legislation, many online and brick-and-mortar stores continue to flout the law. Unfortunately, ignorance is not a defense in criminal matters. There have been many police raids in shops. To quote police constable Ross Bennet, “Unless you are a specifically licensed pharmacy, you cannot legally sell or supply cannabis (including hemp flower) or THC products – no matter what percentage content it has.”
What are the Potential Consequences of Possessing CBD flower in the UK?
Most of the Cannabis laws in the UK stem from the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. The UK made a follow-up legislation called the Misuse of Drugs Regulations of 2001, which labeled cannabis a schedule 1 drug.
In the recent past, the UK has updated its drug possession laws making cannabis a Class B drug. Although this means that legally, cannabis is not considered as dangerous as cocaine and heroin, being in possession of cannabis (including the flower) could still attract heavy penalties.
If caught with cannabis in the UK, you could pay a £90 fine. Depending on the amount of cannabis, you could face up to five years in prison and a hefty fine.
The UK law views hemp flower as cannabis, which is an illegal drug no matter how much or little CBD it contains. As such, being arrested with CBD flower in the UK could result in equal jail time and fines to a person caught with cannabis.
It’s also worth noting that asking a UK court lab to test your CBD flower to prove that it contains less than 0.2% THC isn’t going to get you far. The reason is, the flower in its entirety is illegal in the UK, as noted earlier.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Are CBD Flowers legal in the UK 2021?
A: CBD flowers are not legal in the UK in 2021. As discussed earlier, the legality of CBD flowers is not in whether the flower contain the maximum allowed content of 0.2% or not but the flower itself. Hence, handling any CBD flower in the UK is illegal.
Q: Is buying CBD flower legal?
A: The UK Law classifies the CBD flower as part of the cannabis plant under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971 and remains a controlled drug. Therefore, it’s not legal to buy or to sell CBD flowers in the UK.
Q: Are CBD joints legal UK?
A: CBD joints that contain no more than 0.2% of THC and don’t contain restricted parts of the cannabis plants are allowed in the UK.
Q: Does CBD flower smell?
A: Yes, the CBD flower smells. In fact, the strength of the aroma is one of the indications of the quality of the flower. A good quality flower should have an intense aroma with fruity, earthy, floral and citrus undertones. Flowers that lack an odor or smell like hay are considered low quality.
Q: Which CBD flower gets you high?
A: CBD flowers should contain minimal amounts of THC capped at 0.2% per UK laws. Depending on the amount of CBD flowers you consume and the concentration of THC, there’s a possibility of getting high as long as there is THC involved and you take it in substantial amounts.
Contrary to popular belief, the law is quite clear on handling CBD flowers in the UK. It’s essential to keep in mind that it’s not the content that is illegal but the flower when dealing with CBD flowers. As such, whether the flower has low or high THC, it remains illegal in the UK. The law is as clear as day on this.