Published by way of JD Supra……….[co-authors: Samantha Myers, Ravi Randhawa, Ian Mason]*

World Law Group member companies lately collaborated on a Global Cannabis Guide that gives a short overview of legal guidelines and insurance policies relating to the usage of hashish in varied jurisdictions. It briefly outlines data on an important authorized points, from related laws and common data to particular necessities and dangers.

The information doesn’t declare to be complete, and legal guidelines on this space are shortly evolving. In explicit, it doesn’t exchange skilled and detailed authorized recommendation, as details and circumstances differ on a case-by-case foundation and country-specific laws might change.

This chapter covers England. View the full guide.


I. Introduction

1. Identify the geographic scope and limits of your solutions to the questions beneath.

The solutions beneath are given particularly in relation to England (however both the identical or equal or virtually similar provisions apply in respect of the devolved jurisdictions).

II. Legislation

2. Please present hyperlinks to relevant statutes and laws.1

1. Cannabis: Controlled Drug Status

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 c. 38 (as amended)

Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (as amended) (“MDR 2001”)

The Hemp (Third Country Imports) Regulations 2002 No. 787

The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2015

2. Cannabis-based merchandise for medicinal use in people

Medicines Act 1968

Human Medicines Regulations 2012

MDR 2001

3. CBD (as remoted substance in its pure kind)

Food Products

Food Safety Act 1990

Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 (novel foods)

The Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003

Other Products (e.g.)

General Product Safety Regulations 2005

Regulation (EC) 1223/2009 (Cosmetics Regulation)

4. Other laws

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”)

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Money Laundering: Exceptions to Overseas Conduct Defence) Order 2006

UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961

A. Is there any pending laws that would materially alter relevant statutes or laws?

Not at the moment.

1We have targeted on the important thing relevant home regulation.

B. Is there any proposed laws that would materially alter relevant statutes or laws?

Not at the moment.

3. Are hashish legal guidelines in your jurisdiction fairly effectively settled or are they consistently altering in materials methods?

The legal guidelines on hashish and its standing as a managed substance (“Controlled Drug”) are fairly effectively settled. Cannabis is a Class B managed substance and restrictions apply to its possession, cultivation, provide, import and export. In transient, these actions are topic to a licensing regime and licenses won’t be granted with regard to hashish for leisure use.

The legal guidelines regarding ‘cannabis-based medicinal products for human use’ (or cannabis-based merchandise for medicinal use – “CBPMs”) are more moderen (November 2018). The UK authorities has commissioned an evaluation of the impression of the legislative change on this space. The report from this assessment is scheduled to be full by November 2020.

CBD (in its pure kind) is just not (and has by no means been) a managed substance below the ‘misuse of drugs’ laws. The relevant regulation is well-settled on this respect. However, the usage of CBD in sure merchandise (together with specifically meals merchandise) has raised plenty of authorized points which aren’t, as but, settled.

III. General data (e.g., governing our bodies, licenses, import/export)

4. What governing physique regulates/licenses or enforces actions which can be allowed in your jurisdiction?

Controlled Drug

In common, it’s illegal to own, provide, produce, import or export hashish or to domesticate any plant of the genus hashish apart from below and in accordance with a license granted by the Home Office (a central authorities division).


The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (the “MHRA”), an government company of the Department of Health and Social Care, regulates, amongst different issues, medicinal merchandise. It regulates the provision, manufacture, importation and distribution of medicinal merchandise for human use.

The common rule is {that a} medicinal product must be the topic of a advertising authorization (i.e., license) however there’s additionally a regulatory framework which applies in relation to unlicensed medicines (generally known as ‘specials’).

CBD Food Products

The Food Standards Agency (“FS””) is an unbiased authorities division which has duties in relation to meals and meals security issues. It works intently with native authorities who even have regulatory duties in relation to meals regulation.

Other CBD Products

Local authorities have sure regulatory and enforcement duties for different merchandise which will comprise CBD (e.g., cosmetics).


In addition, the Financial Conduct Authority will take into account issues regarding proceeds of crime and the appliance of POCA.

5. What hashish features are allowed in your jurisdiction? E.g., rising, processing, retailing.

Controlled Drug

As above, it’s illegal to own, provide, produce, import or export hashish or to domesticate any plant of the genus hashish apart from below and in accordance with a license granted by the Home Office (a central authorities division).

Recreational use of hashish is prohibited.


Since November 2018, CBPMs may be prescribed by clinicians which can be listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council. This generally is a licensed drugs (to this point there are two such licensed medicinal merchandise) or an unlicensed drugs (topic to compliance with the relevant guidelines and steering for prescribing unlicensed medicines).

CBD Food Products

CBD extracts had been confirmed as having novel meals standing below relevant EU regulation in January 2019. Novel meals want authorization earlier than they are often positioned available on the market, nonetheless, there are at present no CBD extracts or isolates which have acquired such an authorization. The FSA has confirmed that companies have to have submitted absolutely validated novel meals authorization functions by March 31, 2021. After this date solely merchandise for which a sound software has been acquired by the FSA will probably be allowed to stay available on the market. Until then companies can proceed to promote their current CBD meals merchandise offered that they don’t seem to be incorrectly labeled, are usually not unsafe and don’t comprise substances which can be topic to the ‘misuse of drugs’ laws.

Other CBD Products

The use of CBD in different merchandise is topic to both the related product sector (e.g., beauty merchandise) or to common product security legal guidelines.

6. What gross sales or use is allowed in your jurisdiction? E.g., edibles, vaping, tinctures, meals components, and so on.

See above.

A. Are the foundations totally different for medical vs. grownup leisure use?

Yes – totally different guidelines apply.

Cannabis for leisure use is prohibited outright.

CBPMs could also be prescribed by specialist clinicians (i.e., these listed as being approved for this objective on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council). The specialist clinician doesn’t want a Home Office license for this objective. However, firms that want to possess, produce, manufacture, provide, import or export such merchandise would require a Home Office license so as to undertake these actions lawfully.

CBD merchandise are topic to the foundations relevant to the related product sector (e.g., meals sector, cosmetics, and so on.)

B. Are retail gross sales of any hashish merchandise restricted to particular retail channels? E.g., medical dispensaries, government-owned shops, and so on.

Retail gross sales of hashish are usually not permitted within the UK.

CBPMs can be found by prescription solely and accordingly solely accessible for provide from registered pharmacies.

CBD merchandise (the place lawful) are usually not restricted to particular retail channels.

C. Are there zoning restrictions on the place medical, wellness, or adult-use (leisure) shops may be positioned? Applicable to all hashish merchandise?

Not relevant.

7. What import and export is allowed in your jurisdiction?

As above, a Home Office license is required to import/export hashish and each a Home Office license and both a wholesale seller’s license or a producer’s license will probably be required for a CBPM.

CBD merchandise can solely be imported (positioned available on the market) if they’re lawful in accordance with the related product guidelines/laws.

A. Are there restrictions in relation to the international locations of origin, i.e. which international locations of origin are permitted?

There are not any particular restrictions in relation to international locations of origin, however sure import licenses are required (see above) and any importation might want to adjust to the circumstances and necessities of the license. Also, for unlicensed CBPMs notification of every meant import should even be given to the MHRA.

B. Please describe restrictions on the import of hashish seeds.

The importation of hemp seeds from a non-EU nation requires a license or an authorization from an acceptable authority (and the suitable authority differs relying on which a part of the UK the hemp seeds are imported into). A license is required in relation to ‘hemp seeds for sowing’ (specifically seeds of explicit varieties) – and such hemp seeds can not have a THC content material of greater than 0.2%. An authorization is required in relation to ‘hemp seeds other than for sowing’.

It is just not but clear whether or not these necessities will prolong to EU international locations following the top of the transitional interval at present relevant in respect to the UK’s exit from the EU.

8. Does your area distinguish between several types of hashish merchandise? (E.g., excessive or low concentrations of


A. If so, what distinctions exist?

B. If so, briefly describe the variations.
C. Identify any associated legal guidelines that needs to be thought-about when answering this query.

Yes. The key distinctions are:

  • Cannabis, hashish resin, cannabinol and cannabinol derivatives – are managed substances/medication below the misuse of medicine laws.
  • CBPMs – an outlined class of hashish, hashish resin, cannabinol and cannibal derivatives which is produced for medicinal use in people and is a medicinal product or a substance or preparation to be used as an ingredient of, or within the manufacturing of an ingredient of, a medicinal product.

With regard to totally different concentrations of THC, it’s Home Office coverage to allow cultivation of low-THC hashish crops for the manufacturing of hemp fiber for industrial functions or the acquiring of seeds that are then pressed for his or her oil, i.e., to allow use of the non-controlled components of the plant and the place the seeds are of an accepted kind with a THC content material of no more than 0.2%. Accordingly, most licenses which authorize cultivation of hashish prohibit the usage of the leaves and flowers of the plant and embrace a requirement for them to be destroyed on website.

9. Are there authorized necessities on Cannabidiol (CBD) merchandise (with out THC)?

CBD (in its pure kind, so with zero THC) is just not a managed substance.

See additionally paragraph 5 “CBD Food Products” above.

IV. Patients and prescriptions

10. What particular medical circumstances, if any, are acknowledged for therapy with hashish?

Marketing authorizations have been granted for:

  • Epidyolex – A cannabidiol≠-based orphan drugs indicated to be used as adjunctive remedy of seizures related to Lennox≠Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome.
  • Sativex – a delta-9 tetrahydrocannibinol mixed with cannabidiol as a therapy for spasticity in adults with a number of sclerosis.

However, as famous above, specialist clinicians are in a position to prescribe unlicensed medicines (‘specials’) and, as is the case with the prescribing of any unlicensed drugs, it’s a medical determination to find out the suitable treatment for the affected person making an allowance for varied related components.

11. Is there a licensed practitioner requirement so as to prescribe hashish for medical functions?

Yes – as highlighted above solely these clinicians which can be on the General Medical Council’s specialist register can prescribe CBPMs.

12. Are there affected person registration or cardholder necessities?


V. Special necessities

13. Does your jurisdiction require any recordkeeping from seed planting to the time of finish person sale? For all hashish merchandise?

Yes. There are particular record-keeping necessities for the (lawful) provide of hashish (together with CBPMs) whereby the particular person supplying it should hold a register detailing the particulars of each amount of hashish obtained by them, and of each amount of it being provided by them, in chronological order. With regard to CBPMs, the register should additionally embrace particulars of the one who collected the drug and whether or not it was the affected person, the affected person’s consultant or a healthcare skilled performing on behalf of the affected person and whether or not proof of identification was requested and obtained.

There are additionally particular report protecting necessities in relation to the import of hemp and hemp seeds from a 3rd nation.

In addition, the Home Office license authorizing possession, provide, cultivation, and so on. may embrace circumstances which require sure information to be maintained.

14. Are particular taxes imposed? On what and when?


15. Are there any particular guidelines or limitations that apply to the {industry}? E.g., banking, patent or trademark safety, labeling necessities.

The typical guidelines apply to patent or trademark safety and labeling necessities. For instance, in relation to the latter, labeling necessities are knowledgeable by the necessities which apply to the related product which accommodates the hashish/CBD.

There are at present no particular provisions in monetary providers laws or anti-money laundering laws regarding hashish. However, given the uncertainties regarding the legality of financing preparations within the hashish sector below POCA, our expertise is that banks and different monetary establishments are cautious about their involvement.

16. What is the authorized standing of entry to monetary providers, together with banking, service provider providers, and money dealing with?

Criminal legal responsibility might connect below the cash laundering offenses below POCA (sections 327-329) in relation to the elevating of finance for a hashish enterprise within the UK. This would definitely be the case the place the finance is raised in relation to leisure hashish (illegal, as it’s not licensed by the Home Office), however the place is much less sure the place the finance is raised for medicinal hashish functions, which is able to being licensed by the Home Office. Advice will probably be required on a case-by-case foundation, relying on the licensing preparations, and the character of the financing.

17. Is knowledge collected to find out the social or well being impression of the foundations in your jurisdictions? E.g.,

A. Impact on use by below age/minors.

B. Impact on beer, wine and spirit gross sales.

C. Tax income.

D. Impact on crime, together with drug and alcohol habit.

Not at the moment – leisure use of hashish is prohibited.

VI. Risks and enforcement

18. What are essentially the most important points at present going through the {industry} in your jurisdiction?

The CBPMs regime remains to be in its infancy and the anecdotal proof means that the shortage of fine high quality randomized management trial knowledge which demonstrates enough security and medical effectiveness of CBPMs is a significant hurdle to NHS prescribing. This is especially the case for THC-containing merchandise.

There can be uncertainty on the standing and classification of CBD meals merchandise – which is heightened in gentle of the UK’s exit from the EU as it’s not but clear whether or not the UK’s regulatory framework will keep aligned to that of the EU.

19. What is the present enforcement panorama with respect to hashish? E.g., strict enforcement, low-enforcement, decriminalization, legalization.

The possession, provide, and so on. of hashish with out license (and licenses are usually not given for leisure use of hashish) constitutes a felony offense for which the penalty may be as much as 14 years in jail and a limiteless high quality (or each). Anecdotal proof signifies that there could also be low ranges of enforcement for possession for particular person use however excessive ranges of enforcement in relation to cultivation, provide, imports, and so on.

With regard to CBD, for current meals merchandise there’s successfully an ‘enforcement amnesty’ till March 2021 whereas companies are given the chance to submit novel meals functions for such merchandise.

The place in relation to potential legal responsibility for cash laundering offenses below POCA related to elevating finance is unclear. Many companies within the regulated monetary sector (e.g., monetary establishments, regulation companies) will file pre-emptive suspicious exercise reviews (‘SARs’) with the National Crime Agency, to substantiate that the National Crime Agency has no objection to proposed transactions continuing, to cut back the chance of felony prosecution. However many regard the shortage of steering on this space as unsatisfactory, and it could be useful for the Home Office to supply steering to make clear the regulation and/or the prosecution coverage on this space.

A. Does enforcement differ primarily based on amount?

Yes, the amount might as an example decide whether or not the offense is merely possession of a Controlled Drug, or possession with intent to provide to a different, the latter of which is prone to carry a extra extreme punishment than the previous.

For instance, the possession of hashish can, on abstract conviction, result in a punishment of imprisonment for as much as three months or a high quality of GBP 2,500, or each, and on indictment, to imprisonment for as much as 5 years or a high quality of a limiteless quantity, or each. The possession of hashish with intent to provide to a different can, on abstract conviction, result in a punishment of imprisonment for as much as six months or a high quality of a prescribed sum, or each, and on indictment, to imprisonment for as much as 14 years or a high quality of a limiteless quantity, or each.

B. Does enforcement differ primarily based on product kind?

Not with respect to the kind of product however whether or not or not the product is or accommodates the managed substance/drug that’s hashish.

VII. Your observe and helpful hyperlinks

20. Tell us a bit about your hashish observe and the way it interacts with different practices at your agency. Remember to incorporate any recognition awards your agency has acquired on this observe space. How a lot expertise does your agency have offering providers to hashish firms and the way a lot curiosity does your agency need to develop its hashish observe?

Gowling WLG has a fast-growing hashish observe within the UK and Europe, having labored intently with plenty of main hashish firms and different firms supporting the hashish {industry} over the previous a number of years. We advise on the whole lot from preliminary public choices to actual property and product regulatory issues. Our professionals have a wealthy perception into the distinctive points and alternatives the sector faces, in addition to a nuanced understanding of the rising laws that may govern it. We have in depth expertise in company finance, fairness capital markets, M&A, product legal responsibility, cash laundering legal responsibility and shopper safety points, licensing, distribution, and packaging and labeling.

Our purchasers vary from start-ups to these with multi-million greenback market capitalizations concerned in pharma, healthcare, wellness and meals and beverage, in addition to importers, exporters, funding banks, monetary advisors and traders.

In addition, Gowling WLG has a complete life sciences and healthcare observe that mixes in-depth sector experience with full-service functionality. At a time when healthcare is turning into more and more worldwide, our attorneys are working throughout jurisdictions to convey best-practice and innovation to purchasers throughout a variety of areas: from pharmaceutical and the bio-industry, to built-in well being, social care/care properties and digital well being.

In life sciences, our sturdy repute has seen the agency described as having a “sterling commercial life sciences practice for complex license, research and collaboration agreements” by Chambers 2020, the place it’s ranked in Band 2 UK-Wide. Similarly, Gowling WLG is ranked in Tier 2 for Healthcare in Legal 500 UK (London), referencing the agency’s lively function within the sector and highlighting its recommendation to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust on its ground-breaking public-private partnership to change into a global orthopaedic heart of excellence.

Our numerous observe “brings impressive scientific backgrounds” (Legal 500 UK), with lots of our attorneys having beforehand labored within the {industry} as scientists and who maintain related levels and PhDs in areas corresponding to biochemistry, chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology and genetics. Their repute for innovation is illustrated via, for instance, work on Arrow declarations, the place the group led on and gained the one two instances the place such a declaration has been awarded (FKB v AbbVie and in GSK v Vectura). This is solely new regulation and our specialists have been instrumental in creating and shaping it.

Similarly, on transaction work this ‘innovative thinking’ is seen within the group’s method to a few of the previous 12 months’s most high-profile offers within the sector: for instance, a multi-billion dollar cancer drug collaboration agreement for AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo; Sosei Heptares’ new collaboration with AbbVie to target inflammatory diseases;AstraZeneca’s landmark agreement for the development and distribution of Oxford University’s potential COVID-19 vaccine; and Montreux Healthcare Fund’s acquisition of neuro rehabilitation business Christchurch Group.

The achievements of our specialists have seen the observe acquire industry-wide recognition via awards corresponding to Patrick Duxbury’s recent win at the LMG European Life Sciences Awards and his Who’s Who Legal Awards win in the category of ‘Life Sciences – Transactional Lawyer of the Year 2019’. Gowling WLG can be short-listed for ‘TMT Team of the Year’ on this 12 months’s Legal Business Awards, and for ‘Legal Advisors of the Year – Private’ within the Health Investor Awards 2020.

21. Please present hyperlinks to any agency web site, blogs, respected commerce publications, or attorneys that might assist others perceive the state of the regulation in your jurisdictions.

A. Are there any related commerce organizations?

Yes, for instance:

The Cannabis Trades Association (CTA)

B. Are there any related lobbying organizations?

Yes, for instance:


CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform


*Gowling WLG

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