The best answer to “Is it legal to buy US CBD from the UK online?” is “No.” It is not legal to buy US hemp online and ship it to the UK because the UK has totally different regulatory standards. For some time, the UK’s hemp and CBD policies were unclear. Now they have a very stringent process for CBD and hemp flower sales and manufacturing under UK hemp laws.
Selling US CBD in the UK
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In order for US CBD companies to legally sell their products in the UK, they must apply for approval under the UK Food Safety Act and manufacture products under those regulations. The United Kingdom considers CBD to be a novel food. According to the UK Food Standards Agency, “There are currently no authorised CBD extracts or isolates on the market.”
In addition to having specific products registered and approved, US CBD companies that want to sell products in the UK also need to get a license to import their products. UK hemp laws are very detailed and have strict requirements to be met. The process of getting novel food approval is not unlike applying to the US FDA for novel drug approval. It is expensive, time-consuming, and is a major endeavor that is not within reach of most US hemp companies.
Is Hemp Flower Legal in the UK?
Hemp flower cannot be legally sold to the UK from the US for a number of reasons. The most important is that the UK has a 0.2% total THC limit that is not met by most available strains.
Home Office only issues licences for cultivation of plants from approved seed types with a THC content not exceeding 0.2%.Industrial hemp licensing: factsheet. gov.uk, Last updated 15 January 2020.
Even in the US, many states ban smokable hemp products or require total THC less than 0.3% which is less than most smokable hemp flower contains.
Other UK hemp laws for labeling, import permits, product registration and approval, and testing also would need to be met in order to sell US hemp in the UK. Currently, US hemp companies do not have the infrastructure to meet these requirements. There is just a small handful of US hemp companies that are even potentially capable of producing hemp and CBD that could comply and none of those are online retailers.
UK Hemp Laws: Can You Ship CBD to the UK?
No, no unapproved products can be shipped to the UK. These products generally get stuck in customs or confiscated when shipping CBD from the US to the UK is attempted. UK hemp laws require companies that ship CBD to the UK to have an importation license, and to have their products registered and manufactured under UK CBD regulations.
Importing CBD into UK
EU-approved industrial hemp strains are the only type of hemp that can possibly be imported into the UK. All CBD products must apply for authorization of their CBD extracts and isolates.