Finnish authorities have cracked down on domestically based companies selling dietary supplements containing CBD, which they say lack EU authorisation. This has forced the country’s largest importer of supplements containing cannabinoids, Hamppumaa Oy, to file for bankruptcy.
Another company, Pohjoismaiden terveyssuihkeet Oy (Nordic Health Spray) was forced to withdraw a spray containing CBD – marketed as a dietary supplement – in January. The company continues to operate but no longer offers products derived from hemp.
Hamppumaa Oy has been selling products made from hemp in Finland since 2014, but according to owner Jaakko Myllyniemi, their main source of income was raw hemp juice and other supplements produced by Dutch company, Sana Hemp.
The Finnish Food Authority started looking into the products last spring following several other European countries, to reclassify dietary supplements containing cannabidiol as novel foods under the EU Novel Food Catalogue. As the products currently lack proper authorisation the company was ordered to take the products off the market.
Novel food rules apply
“There is a process going on in the EU to get the proper authorisation for these products. Maybe once that happens we can open up again,” says Myllyniemi.
According to the Finnish Food Authority they are simply following current EU rules on novel foods, which apply to any food products that have not been used for human consumption to a significant degree in Finland before May 1997.
“This applies to both the extracts themselves and any products to which [cannabinoids] are added as an ingredient… This also applies to extracts of other plants containing cannabinoids. Synthetically obtained cannabinoids are considered as novel,” senior officer Anna Mizrahi told CBD-intel.
The decision by the Food Authority makes it all but impossible for any Finnish company to import, produce or sell products containing cannabidiol. As CBD is also considered an active ingredient in medicines it falls under Finnish drug legislation. This means products like lotions and cosmetics containing CBD must also be approved by the Finnish Medicines Agency, Fimea.
What This Means: It looks like it will be tough sledding for any companies interested in the Finnish market until cannabinoid novel food applications start to be approved. The timescale for such actions remains difficult to predict – particularly given the inevitable delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
– Cajsa Collin CBD-Intel contributing writer