On 20th August, Bright Line Law published an article saying that cannabis-related investment is on the rise.  The market for CBD, a compound extracted from the cannabis plant, in the UK is forecast to be worth £16.5 billion over the next decade.  CBD is not a controlled drug in the UK but would-be investors should not ignore the potential for proceeds of crime legislation to be engaged.  A recent call for Home Office clarity over the amount of THC (the active and controlled ingredient in cannabis) that is permissible in CBD products highlights that, in some cases, there is scope for criminal conduct and money laundering to arise.  In the UK, cannabis importation, production and supply remains illegal under the Drugs Misuse Act 1971 but cannabis for medicinal use has been (at least theoretically and technically) available to be prescribed since November 2018.  The article says that the Home Office has been called on to clarify the position in relation to CBD oils as the 0.2% limit in the Home Office factsheet applies to plant matter and suggesting that CBD oil even with small amounts of THC would appear to be illegal.  As yet, the Home Office has not revised its factsheet or issued any further guidance.  In the absence of clarification, where CBD is mixed with a controlled substance and supplied or imported into the UK issues of ‘criminal conduct’ and consequently, ‘criminal property’ can arise.  As such, investors eyeing opportunities that appear to squarely fall in to the CBD as opposed to recreational cannabis category would be wise not to overlook the potential impact of POCA.

See also the Home Office factsheet on cannabis and cannabis-related medicines –

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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