European Hemp Leaders Launch Bid To Designate ‘Natural’ CBD A Traditional Food

Business of Cannabis reports

EUROPEAN hemp leaders are to open a new front in the on-going continental cannabidiol (CBD) battle by looking to have it classified again as a traditional food.

The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has chosen to act after the Czech Ministry of Agriculture signalled its intent to ban products containing CBD.

This followed the European Commission’s (EC) decision, in June last year, to halt the processing of CBD Novel Food applications due to concerns over its safety profile.

Consequently, EIHA has now sought clarification on the traditional status of natural, hemp-extract products with an Article 4 submission under the EC’s Novel Food regulations.

A 14th Century Papal Soup

EC rules stipulate that if it can be proven that the food item in question had been widely consumed as a food across the EC prior to May 1997 it does not have to navigate the Novel Food process.

In January 2021, Business of Cannabis first reported that EIHA was looking to pursue this Article 4 pathway.

At the time, we highlighted how EIHA had identified almost 30 examples of hemp and cannabis extracts being used over the centuries. These included a  soup recipe from the personal chef of 14th Century Pope Martin V.

This Roman dish featured juices from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant mixed with spices, including saffron, breadcrumbs and onion.

EIHA Managing Director Lorenza Romanese told Business of Cannabis that it had chosen the Article 4 pathway as a growing number of countries are failing to permit the use of hemp extracts, with naturally occurring levels of cannabinoids.

A Traditional Food

She said: “The Czech Ministry Of Agriculture may well have been feeling some pressure coming from the European Food Safety Authority as a result of the concerns it raised on isolate CBD in June last year.

“However, what we intend to do now is to demonstrate to the Czech Ministry of Agriculture that natural hemp plant extracts are a traditional food that have been used in Czechia, and Europe, for centuries.”

With the Czech Republic at the vanguard of moves to introduce a recreational cannabis market – and having independently raised the THC limit in CBD to 1% in the field – EIHA believes there is a reasonable chance it will succeed.

EIHA’s Article 4 submission has been made directly to the Czech Ministry of Agriculture and it has four months to make a decision, although this may be delayed.

Ms Romanese, with strong support from the Czech hemp cluster, is looking to convince Prime Minister Petr Fiala on the validity of its position.

And, if successful, and based on the founding principles of the European Union in relation to the free movement of goods, then, in theory, it should open up the market for natural hemp-extract products across the 27 member states.

Free Movement Of Goods

However, Ms Romanese highlighted how individual member states can act independently according to the precautionary principle and if they refuse to acknowledge natural hemp-extract products as legal then they could be sanctioned by their own courts of the European Court of Justice.


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