Dear cbuy.ch community
On February 1, 2022, a press release was issued by the Association of Swiss Cantonal Chemists (VKCS) regarding cannabidiol (CBD) in food. The trade association of the Swiss hemp industry, IG Hemp, also issued a press release on February 2, 2022 in response. In the course of the current developments, we as SWISS Gate AG, owner of cbuy.ch, consider it our duty as an ambitious start-up to also publish a statement on the topic discussed in these releases.
According to the media release of the VKCS, various food products containing CBD are offered in Switzerland, especially CBD oils. According to the Novel Food Regulation of the European Union, which Switzerland follows in food law, CBD as food requires a special approval. To our knowledge, there is no product containing CBD in Europe that has received such an approval as a food. Accordingly, as of today, no food products containing CBD may be sold in Switzerland. Accordingly, CBD oils must always be labeled as chemicals in practice. According to the federal mandate, the control of compliance with these requirements is the responsibility of the authorities at the cantonal level.
The press release of the VKCS states that the controls have been carried out throughout Switzerland in 2021. To our knowledge, this is not the case. In our opinion, there are certain cantons where the responsible control authorities have not been active and have omitted such controls or have not carried them out comprehensively, as in many places the opinion prevails that CBD oils are marketable as foodstuffs, that the Novel Food Regulation is no longer up-to-date and that it is not relevant for Switzerland. Other cantons, however, are taking intensive action against market participants.
This unequal treatment at the cantonal level despite a uniform mandate at the national level leads to unfair competitive conditions as well as to federally induced barriers to market entry and in the worst cases to closures of businesses and the associated layoffs of employees as well as economic damage.
The VKCS also states in its press release that many CBD oils are illegally offered as food. We, SWISS Gate AG, clearly disagree with this opinion and the wording of the VKCS press release. In our opinion, the majority of the products complained about are chemicals with the corresponding labeling according to the chemical law.
If, in the opinion of the cantonal authorities, errors in the labeling are found during the inspection of a CBD product classified as a chemical, the product concerned will no longer be assessed by the competent inspection authorities according to chemicals law but according to food law, as it is then falsely claimed that the labeling as a chemical is a purely protective claim and that the product falls under food law. This automatically makes it subject to the Novel Food Regulation.
As a result, a product that is marketed as a chemical is incorrectly classified as a food and evaluated accordingly, even though the regulations under chemical law should actually apply. This misclassification of certain products leads to the fact that these then automatically exceed the permissible THC limit for hemp seed oils as food (max. 0.002% THC), although they would be marketable according to the chemical law (max. 1% THC).
According to various publicly available sources, CBD oils are used orally by a majority of consumers. They are usually aware that CBD oils are not food according to the law, but most of them cannot understand why CBD oils should not be food.
This confusing and unclear legal situation for the consumers as well as the unequal treatment of the distributors by the different cantonal authorities leave the Swiss CBD market in a state of uncertainty and insecurity, which is no longer acceptable and justifiable towards the public as well as towards the consumers and the companies concerned.
We as SWISS Gate AG therefore publicly advocate a comprehensive and uniform regulation. Legal certainty in the production, trade and use of hemp/cannabis products as well as comprehensive consumer protection must be the goal.
With the acceptance of the Minder postulate (“Legal certainty in the production, trade and use of hemp/cannabis products”) on June 16, 2021 in the Council of States (30 votes to 6), this need is also manifested in Parliament. The proposal aims to make the various forms of the hemp plant (cannabis) more economically viable and, in this regard, to enable a contemporary and comprehensive cannabis regulation (including health, chemicals, food, cosmetics, medicines, road traffic, tobacco products and customs law). Just like the industry association IG Hemp, SWISS Gate AG very much welcomes this endeavor and hopes that politics will remedy the situation accordingly.
We thank you for your trust in the brand cbuy.ch and wish you all a relaxing weekend and best health.
All the best from Cannabis wishes you
Marco Hoffmann, CEO SWISS Gate AG