A HOME Office ruling that forced Jersey Hemp to close its sales and growing operation is ‘contradictory’ and lacks ‘any thought-out reasoning’, according to the UK leader of a body championing producers in the sector.
Tony Reeves, a member of the European Industrial Hemp Association, called for ‘consistency’ and ‘a recognition that Jersey Hemp can supply into the UK’.
Last month the firm revealed that it was being prevented from doing so after civil servants in Whitehall decided that its CBD products were illegal.
Jersey Hemp director Craig Dempster said they were being told their product was banned because it contained THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – even though the level had been proven to be within legal parameters – and he went on to claim the firm had been hung out to dry by the UK and Jersey governments.
Mr Reeves agreed that the ruling was ‘contradictory’ and also pointed out that very low levels of THC could be detected ‘in all CBD products’.
He stressed that removing all traces was not practical as ‘there will still be a few molecules hanging around’, but added that ‘the presence of those traces is irrelevant to consumer safety’.
‘I would like to see any thought-out reasoning as to why a Jersey Hemp product could be thought of as a delivery mechanism for a controlled substance, taking into account the context that the level of controlled substance is below that stipulated in the Misuse of Drugs Regulations,’ he explained.
‘Because I don’t see it and I don’t see any consistency between good brands doing it properly who are on the market in the UK and Jersey Hemp, who would be one of the top brands in my view.
‘Their approach to quality is unassailable; I have physically been there and seen the process, met the people doing it – these are passionate people doing a great job and the consumers deserve access to it.’
Discussing whether the ruling should mean all other brands of cannabis-based wellbeing goods would need to be pulled off UK shelves, he said: ‘I don’t think for one second they would consider disenfranchising the UK consumer who needs these products.
‘If it’s going to be evened out there is only one way this can go, which has got to be a recognition that Jersey Hemp can supply into the UK. It’s a call for consistency and there is only one consistency that gives the consumer what they want and deserve.’
Jersey Hemp director Craig Dempster said the business was currently considering legal action against the Home Office as well as the UK and Jersey governments, describing the situation as ‘ridiculous’.
‘We still have around £500,000 of crop in the ground,’ he explained.
‘There is a risk that we may have to terminate it.’
The JEP contacted the Home Office but was told it would not be commenting further on the matter.