Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Talking Cannabis With the MHRA

with 4 comments

MHRA Headquarters

In November 2016 I organised a meeting with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and a number of key players in the CBD market.  It was in response to the MHRA seeking to clamp down on sales of CBD oil and related products.  That meeting led directly to the formation of the Cannabis Trades Association UK (CTAUK) which now represents more than 80% by turnover of all CBD suppliers in the UK.

Since that first meeting my friend and colleague Mike Harlington has taken on the leadership role at CTAUK and I give him great credit for what has been achieved.  We expect formal recognition by the MHRA is only a few weeks away and that is a tremendous coup.  For the first time ever, in the face of total intransigence by government, we have established to a significant degree a legally regulated cannabis market.  Clearly, it doesn’t yet go anywhere near far enough but this is the most concrete move ever towards long overdue cannabis law reform.

The first 18 months of CTAUK have not been easy.  Other than the MHRA, the other branches of government concerned are the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Home Office.  The FSA has also become a close working partner but, unsurprisingly, the Home Office remains difficult and our efforts to engage constructively with it have been characterised by responses that are inconsistent, irrational, contradictory and a realisation that it’s losing its grip on cannabis policy.  It is impossible to deal with.  In fact, I almost sympathise with the unfortunate civil servants charged with administering a policy that is itself irrational and contradictory and driven only by outdated prohibitionist values.  Maladministration of the Misuse of Drugs Act is now a persistent reality and several legal challenges to the Home Office’s conduct are imminent.  Soon the High Court will become involved in UK cannabis policy and then, in theory, facts and evidence should prevail rather than propaganda and government disinformation.

Dr Chris Jones

The CTAUK has been engaged in regular meetings with the MHRA and I was invited along for the most recent occasion.  The CTAUK team was Mike Harlington, Tom Whettem of Canabidol and myself.  The MHRA team was Dr Chris Jones, head of the Borderline Medicines section and Raj Gor. We discussed many administrative matters and gave a great deal of time again to discussing medicinal claims and how members could avoid mistakes.  It seems obvious that no claims of medicinal benefit can be made but there are many instances where it’s not clear cut.  A particular case we looked at was the use of ‘night’ and ‘day’ CBD products.  Eventually it was agreed that this description is acceptable but only just. This is an excellent example of how CTAUK works to represent its members’ interests and with goodwill on both sides how positive agreement can be reached.

On a continuing, day-to-day basis CTAUK and MHRA are in constant touch, ironing out problems, asking for and taking advice from each other.  I am impressed with the way the relationship has evolved and jointly we bring great benefit to the industry and consumers.

4 Responses

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  1. This is fantastic news. Your ongoing work to get it ‘all legal’ is simply amazing, all of you. The Home office will no doubt put every obstacle in the way of this progress but to coin a phrase, you are on the right side of history and when you win so shall we all. Congrats to you all on a job well done thus far and as a medical cannabis user, I sincerely thank you.

    Mel Cabezas

    March 28, 2018 at 5:18 pm

  2. This is indeed encouraging news. and an example of what appears to be goodwill on all sides. Of course the HO, as ever appear to be stuck in a time warp and only when the available evidence is brought to bear in , hopefully open court if it comes to that. will go anywhere near changing the currently out of date, poorly administered policy. it might be well to re examine the recently enacted , psychoactive substances act of 2016 in tandem with the misuse of drugs act of 1971 as this latter piece of legislation appears to be a knee jerk reaction to the so called “legal highs” problem. which, presumably, it was designed to address.

    Shaun O'Connor

    March 28, 2018 at 9:35 pm

  3. You lose your credibility when included on the page are adverts for messages from angels!!!


    March 28, 2018 at 10:14 pm

  4. […] Talking Cannabis With the MHRA [Peter Reynolds] […]

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