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UK Court Of Appeal: Low-THC Hemp Flower Is Not A ‘Narcotic Drug’

hemp hemp

For many years, hemp flower was largely considered to be an undesirable commodity to cannabis consumers. The hemp plant was almost always associated with paper, rope, and various textiles, and not something that cannabis consumers actually combusted and inhaled.

However, that has changed in recent years. Hemp flower that is low in THC, often referred to as ‘floral hemp,’ is a hot item in many markets these days due to various reasons. While it will never completely supplant cannabis products that are high in THC, low-THC floral hemp is legal in far more jurisdictions right now compared to high-THC products, and the increased access is something that many consumers are taking advantage of.

The floral hemp sector of the emerging cannabis industry is still very young, and it is causing legal headaches for entrepreneurs and investors that have to navigate laws, rules, and regulations that are either shifting, incomplete, or entirely nonexistent.

One jurisdiction that has struggled is the United Kingdom where low-THC cannabis products are widely available, yet, not necessarily legal according to some authorities. The UK Court of Appeal recently ruled that some low-THC products are not a ‘narcotic drug’ which is a designation that should help clear up some of the confusion. Per Cannabis Health News:

A ‘landmark’ Court of Appeal ruling in the UK has set a new legal precedent for businesses in the UK importing and selling CBD or low-THC hemp flower.

Crucially, the Court of Appeal has made it clear that it does not consider hemp flower with a THC content below 0.2% as ‘a narcotic drug’.

The case stemmed from the arrest of the owners of UK-based CBD retailer Uncle Herb, with the owners being charged with ‘violating the Misuse of Drugs Act.’ The owners were able to successfully argue that under EU law floral hemp products with less than .2% THC are not a narcotic and that EU law superseded UK law.

It’s ironic that EU law has hindered so many domestic THC policy modernization efforts in recent years, just to simultaneously be used to advance low-THC policy in the UK. It will be interesting to see if the same legal strategy is used in other European countries that have historically dragged their feet on low-THC reform.

This case out of the UK serves as yet another reminder that cannabis policies are harmful, outdated, and often contradictory throughout the European continent and that an EU-wide overhaul of cannabis policies is well overdue.

United Kingdom