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7 rules of international distribution of CBD

Sep 3, 2019
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 4 min.

The cannabis industry has been one of the fastest-growing markets this decade. With more countries joining in on the legalization of medical marijuana, or recreational marijuana, or both, the scope for international distribution is sky-high. However, this field can also be a confusing maze to navigate as each country’s rules and regulations vary considerably from each other. The following paragraphs highlight a few of the rules to keep in mind when your company wants to start the distribution of CBD products on an international scale. Read more research at herbonaut.com.

1. Keeping track of the legality of CBD products across the globe is a must.

The United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs is in charge of setting almost all of the rules that countries follow in the case of legalization of cannabis. From the legalization of recreational marijuana to criminalization for possession of the drug, the countries’ respective rules vary by a considerable amount. With the legalization of CBD, it is being used in almost every product like CBD Face Mask for better skin.

As of this year, Canada and Uruguay are the only countries in the world that have legalized recreational marijuana. South Africa and Georgia permit the use of cannabis products but do not allow sales in their own country. Countries such as Spain and the Netherlands permit the sale of these products by licensed companies. The list of nations that have legalized the use of medical marijuana is long. This list includes Argentina, Colombia, Luxembourg, Thailand, Switzerland, and Greece, to name a few.

The United States has not federally legalized the use and sale of marijuana. However, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it on the state level.

You can refer to the legality of cannabis for a complete list of countries and their respective stances on the use and distribution of cannabis.

2. The source of CBD matters.

The UN classifies CBD extracted from marijuana as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. This status prevents the use of CBD obtained from marijuana as a dietary supplement or a prescription drug in all the states. However, CBD obtained from the plant hemp does not fall under the same category since 2018. Keep in mind that though hemp can be sold legally, selling CBD obtained from hemp still comes with restrictions. In some states in the United States, CBD obtained from either source can be sold legally to patients with a doctor’s recommendation.

3. The percentage of THC present in the CBD product.

An organization can import or export CBD based products from the United States if and only if the percentage of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) is below a certain threshold. This threshold is 1⁄3 of the entire product. This threshold means that the maximum percentage of THC legally allowed in the product is 0.3%. Exporting regulations also depend on whether the destination country has legalized the use of CBD or not.

4. Using licensing and knowledge swapping as a means of export.

When regulations get in the way of exporting or important physical products, states can use license agreements and knowledge swapping as a means to build the market. For instance, a company can sell genetic strains to international organizations. In this way, they can profit through international distributions without being burdened by import-export laws.

5. No approved CBD based medicinal product exists as of now.

Claiming to be selling an approved CBD based product could put your company in a bind. While CBD more commonly acts as a supplement and purchased from shops such as online dispensary Canada, the WHO has not authorized any drug containing it as a medicinal product. However, drugs like Arvisol and Epidiolex are currently in their development stages. So the future for approved medicinal products made of CBD is coming.

6. Getting import and export permits

Importing countries can issue an import permit to an organization based on their laws surrounding the use and distribution of CBD. Further, the country in which that organization has its base in issues an export permit based on their own health regulations. The International Narcotics Control Board from the United Nations keeps track of the amount of CBD produced and consumed annually.

7. Cannabis used recreationally is non-distributable

While the global market for medical marijuana is booming, recreational marijuana is nowhere near the same level. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs encourages research and the use of medical marijuana while outlawing its use for recreational purposes. Canada currently dominates this market as it is one of the first countries to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Their less stringent laws represented by the Ontario cannabis regulations act as evidence to the scope of this market.

The scope of the CBD market is rocketing. With more than 183 million users worldwide, this market will probably reach about 100 billion dollars in retail value in the next ten years. A well planned global strategy for international distribution can take your CBD producing organization quite far in the coming years.

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