With reports of cannabidiol (CBD) products being pulled from shop shelves in Valencia by Police, and CBD exhibitors at Spannabis Barcelona 2019 being limited to companies selling creams, is Spain’s CBD market in chaos? Or do these signals signal the arrival of much needed regulation?
Spain’s cannabis market is a diverse mix of Spanish and foreign owned businesses selling everything from seeds, fertiliser and grow lamps to hemp infused beers and CBD tinctures, oils and creams. All of these companies, the seed banks, cultivators, manufacturers, grow shops, distributors and online vendors operate in a grey market that permits them to sell their products and long as they follow some rules. All of that sounds exactly like the legal and policing swampy mess that is the lot of sex workers, brothels and escort agencies in Spain. Ibiza escorts can work freely, but can still be hassled by the police. And escort agencies and brothels while theoretically are not breaking any laws find themselves at the mercy of any investigating judge with a political axe to grind. Or a political profile to boost at the expense of marginalised business people.
They cannot sell any cannabis product with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content higher than 0.2% as prohibited by international law, and seeds for all hemp products, whether commercial or industrial, must be sourced from the Approved European Hemp Seed Catalogue. There are further laws, some of which apply to the presentation and sale of cannabis products. In particular they relate to CBD oil for human consumption as a food supplement, but they have been deliberately overlooked until now.
In August 2018, reports of shops being raided and CBD products confiscated began to circulate on Twitter. Then a blog post circulated online notifying the industry that Spain’s food and safety authority, AECOSAN, had updated its legislation to prohibit the sale and distribution of products containing CBD being sold as food supplements. Under Spanish law, food supplements must be sourced from a “normal” food, be a “concentrated source of nutrients” and can only include “vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids”.
However there are reports that Coca Cola is interested in developing a CBD drink, strongly boosting the popularity of CBD by 2022. CBD could be the leafy cherry on its marketing cake.