Jersey Hemp considers legal action against UK and Jersey governments

Posted: 29/06/2023

Jersey Hemp has issued the following statement, replicated here in full:

Jersey Hemp, the sole licensed CBD producer in the British Isles, is considering taking legal action against the UK and Jersey governments following a directive from the UK Home Office and the subsequent support of the Jersey authorities to restrict the export of Jersey Hemp's CBD Wellness products to the UK. 

This decision, which contradicts a legal opinion affirming the compliance of Jersey Hemp's products with relevant legislation, is a clear error in both law and judgment.

The directive unfairly singles out Jersey Hemp, excluding them from importing their products into the UK market, while allowing non-licensed CBD products from around the world to freely enter the UK market (as all CBD products are imported into the UK). 

Despite Jersey Hemp's active engagement in a thorough and costly process with the UK Food Standard Agency to establish legal and compliant products permitted for sale in the UK, the conflicting stance of the UK Home Office undermines their efforts.

Legal experts have confirmed the compliance and legality of Jersey Hemp's operations, exposing the UK Home Office's erroneous interpretation. Furthermore, the existence of a visible and legal CBD industry reinforces Jersey Hemp's position. 

If CBD were truly illegal, the UK Home Office would logically ban the import and sale of all CBD products in the UK, rather than singling out Jersey Hemp.

If this decision is upheld, it would effectively render the entire CBD market in the UK illegal, proving detrimental to Jersey Hemp's viability as a business.

Consequently, Jersey Hemp has already experienced significant financial repercussions, resulting in a redundancy process impacting over 50% of its staff.

Closure of operations

As a further consequence Jersey Hemp regrets to announce the closure of its sales and growing operations, as well as substantial redundancies at its headquarters in Warwick Farm, Jersey. 

Following a Home Office inspection earlier this year, the acting Chief Pharmacist of Jersey has informed Jersey Hemp that the Health Minister has endorsed the UK Home Office's view, classifying Jersey Hemp's CBD wellness products as controlled substances and thus illegal in the United Kingdom.

As the only licensed grower and producer of CBD wellness products in the British Isles, with products available online, in-store, and via Amazon, Jersey Hemp recently announced a sales partnership with Tesco in the UK.

Since 2019, Jersey Hemp has been cultivating hemp at its Warwick Farm headquarters to create CBD wellness products. The company is also in the process of acquiring novel foods status from the UK Food Standards Agency.

Due to the breach of their cultivation and extraction license as declared by the States of Jersey Government, Jersey Hemp has no alternative but to close certain aspects of its operations and halt the export of products to the UK. 

Exempted products

Jersey Hemp firmly believes, supported by legal advice, that the UK CBD industry is legal. This is evidenced by the widespread availability of CBD products throughout the UK. Jersey Hemp's products meet all three criteria outlined in Regulation 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (MDR) 2001, qualifying them as "Exempted Products".

Jersey Hemp also raises concerns regarding the exclusion of licensed companies, like themselves, from the £300m UK market, while non-licensed CBD companies are permitted to sell their products as long as they are imported from outside the British Isles.

David Ryan and Blair Jones, Co-Founders of Jersey Hemp, expressed their profound disappointment with the UK Home Office's position declaring their products illegal. 

They highlighted the rigorous and costly process they have undergone, in collaboration with the UK FSA, to obtain Novel Foods approval as part of an accreditation programme. 

They emphasised the growing market for CBD products in the UK, available through numerous leading retailers and supermarkets. They questioned the rationale behind the UK Home Office's stance, asserting that if CBD were truly illegal, its sale would be prevented.

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