British police busted the Vaping is Personal shop and seized all CBD-related products after gaining a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
More than 2,000 of these shops have sprung up across the UK to meet soaring demand for e-cigarettes, which is now a $1.5 billion industry in Britain alone. Many of the stores sell CBD oil as it is believed to ease joint pain, reduce spasms, lower blood pressure, and treat anxiety and depression. But confusion over its legality reigns and the owner of Vaping is Personal in Plymouth is furious with the police for seizing his products, while CBD advocates are outraged.
It’s illegal to possess, grow, distribute, or sell cannabis in the UK as it is deemed a class-B drug with no medicinal value under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations Act 2001.
Police can issue an on-the-spot fine to anyone found holding less than an ounce, and supplying marijuana can lead to a jail term of up to 14 years. But CBD is supposed to be exempt from the law, provided the THC content is less than 1mg, which ensures users cannot get high from it.
Yet police raided Vaping is Personal and seized $4,500 worth of stock for testing. The shop’s owners called it “a complete injustice” and said it would spark reputational damage and loss of sales. “CBD is a completely legal product, sold by many shops,” said owner Lee Whittaker.
“They don’t know what the product is so they need to send it away for testing. Their information is wrong. The police officer said when he was here that I clearly know more than he does about it, yet he’s felt the need to get a warrant to search my premises and seize my products, not knowing what he is seizing.”
The Cannabis Trades Association UK estimates that 250,000 Brits use CBD and that sales skyrocketed when health store chain Holland & Barrett began selling it. It offers a 10ml bottle for about $15 on its website, and it could be next in the police’s firing line.
Some experts suggest the police have made an illegal seizure at Vaping is Personal, while others believe the owners may have unwittingly broken the law. “Many people confuse the 0.2% THC level that defines hemp from marijuana and believe that this is the threshold for legal sale, but in fact any product on the marketplace today that has more than 1mg of THC is illegal,” said the Cannabis Trades Association UK.
If products sold in health stores and vaping shops contain more than 1mg, this could be the catalyst for raids across the country. Forensic examination of the products seized is currently taking place, and the results will be revealed soon.