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Leading the pack

The Hemp Hound Agency's March 2023 Directory Update & News Round-up

We're one and a bit weeks into March, and it's already been a hectic year. Last month though has to go down in my book as one of the most interesting of all time, and it feels like there's a general frustration brewing in the wind.

In essence it all comes down to GW/Jazz Pharmaceuticals and their influence over hemp and CBD food supplemental products, but we're no longer talking about just in the UK, there's more of a global move. How does that really affect us though, and more to the point, what can we do about it?

We'll touch on that further below, but first, new companies!

Recently I said that The Hemp Hound Agency was changing its dynamic, this is due to the inescapable fact that I've outgrown my boots, and do more than the signposting and advisory model I was hoping to follow.

It's not easy, but I do have support behind the scenes. Now though, I have open support, especially with the three companies who have joined knowing full well that I'm working for the good of the industry, and without conflicts!

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

These are big companies with a noticeable presence, they know that there is an issue with Novel Foods, and they are happy being on The Hemp Hound Agency's directory knowing that my focus is on fairness, and a level playing field.

"No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it." – H.E. Luccock

If you think I'm making the right noises, then I need you as much as you need me, lets talk!

Hello to the new signups!

Dushey are one of those companies who you would think didn't need an introduction, but then do you really know exactly what they provide in regards to services and products?

If you can think of it, Dushey can make it, and we are talking everything!

They also have ties to other product suppliers, Eco Vape for example are one of the UK's premier supplier of vape products, so "we've got you covered" takes on a whole new meaning.

Dushey was launched in 2019, and from there have grown not just in their capabilities, but also as a market leader. They're also stepping into the medicinal sector too, which allows them to explore the potential of cannabis both in a preventative (health and wellbeing) and curative (medicinal) context.

For more information on Dushey's products and capabilities, you can find them in the following lists: Wholesale Hemp & CBD Product Suppliers, White Label

Naturecan are also one of those companies that is hard to miss, especially as their products are available in over 40 countries.

Naturecan come with more than just your standard products, and also include other herbs and nutraceutical ingredients to offer you that little bit more.

We're not just talking balms, capsules and skincare either, Naturecan also provide a whole range of edibles.

Naturecan also have aspirations within the medicinal cannabis sector, and will be joining Dushey on a medicinal cannabis focused page soon on The Hemp Hound Agency's website.

For more information in regards to Naturecan's products, you can find them on the following lists: Wholesale Hemp & CBD Product Suppliers, White Label

Qunubu derive their name from the ancient Assyrian word meaning "way to produce smoke", and there's no smoke without fire!

Qunubu come with a compact product range which includes organic oils, infused balms, artisanal gummies, and a fine range of merchandise.

Launched in 2020, Qunubu CBD is a small family-operated business born out of a fiery passion to help support the health, comfort, and happiness of their customers.

For more information on Qunubu's great range of products, you can find them in the following lists: Wholesale Hemp & CBD Product Suppliers, White label

And then there's renewals

Rio-Vitalise hail from Portsmouth, and were launched in 2020.

Rio are currently in the process of relaunching their website, which should be going live on Monday the 13th of March.

Keep an eye open for them, because all of their products are made using hemp grown in Spain. They are tied with the other renewal below in a relationship that goes beyond product quality by bringing you something a little more special.

Cannabiosfera are the tag-team partners of Rio-Vitalise, and together they produce products from hemp that is grown within a UNESCO approved biome.

Situated by the Rio-Cabrial, their hemp effectively is irrigated with water that feeds one of the cleanest rivers in the world, and in site of some of the most amazing scenery you can imagine.

Due to the status of the farm, Cannabiosfera work with nature, and ensure that all of their hemp is grown in the most organic way possible.

You can find Rio-Vitalise on the following lists: Wholesale Hemp & CBD Product Suppliers, White Label

You can find Cannabiosfera on the following lists: Farms & Related Services

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." – Phil Jackson

A view over the Cannabiosfera farm

And now for website updates

There's a few things worth mentioning here, but first and foremost I've had to do a little remodelling.

We've got:

  • A new and updated 'About Us' page - The director for security and treats needed a better bio that more reflects his character

  • A new page that hosts the latest episode of Hemp Hound TV - That's right, everything is now pulled together

  • A new page for regulatory contacts and enquiries - Can you find a list that includes all the regulatory contacts for the hemp and CBD industry in one place? Me neither, so I made one for convenience which will be added to over time

There is also a new page coming soon that will house a list for medically focused companies, so please do keep an eye out for that as well as other updates.

And now for the news

The year so far has been more than eventful for the UK Hemp and CBD industry, which includes interesting updates both on the domestic front as well as abroad.

Within the last month though, there have been some very concerning situations that raise questions in regards to the honesty and integrity of the FSA.

On 15/02/23 the post to the left was put up on LinkedIn, but not on any other social platform, and neither was it posted on the FSA's website.

It indicates that Deloitte had won the contract to perform an independent review of Novel Food Regulations.

The problem there is that Deloitte are far from 'Independent'.

The contract itself was released on 03/10/22, and was won on 12/12/22. Then things start getting interesting, the FSA state that the government tender site was updated on 19/12/22, however on 14/02/23 I searched the site for the tender information. For some reason the contract wasn't there in the morning, but it was after midday. Then 24 hours after the tender appeared, the FSA release the post above.

24 hours... and the thing is, I feel that I may have prompted the FSA to post about Deloitte, because it materialised in that time after I posted the following below.

This led to an investigation by myself to find out exactly who Deloitte are, and within a 10 minute search I as able to find links to GW Pharmaceuticals, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Jazz buying GW, and British Associated Foods who own British Sugar. You can find the results of that investigation here.

Upon releasing that information I submitted a press request to the FSA, shortly after that, I was contacted by a journalist from NutraIngredients who wanted to know more about the story. They too submitted a press request to the FSA, which was answered, and the next day I received the same reply as NutraIngredients.

Following the public government commitment to a Novel Foods Review in the publication of The Benefits of Brexit Paper, an invitation to tender for the external Novel Foods Regulatory Framework Review launched in early October 2022 and closed in November 2022. Several applications were received and were evaluated in line with Regulation 67 of the Public Contracts Regulations, against set commercial and technical criteria with Deloitte being the Most Economically Advantageous Tender.

The review will critically evaluate the current Novel Food Regulatory Framework (based on Novel Food Retained EU Legislation) and identify opportunities for potential reform. The review will consider the national and international regulatory landscape, and present potential options for a Novel Foods Regulatory Framework assessing the benefits, limitations, risks, opportunities, resource, and time implications as well as the impact on industry and consumers. The options presented in the output report will support the Food Standards Agency’s internal thinking for potential reform of the regulatory framework for novel foods.

CBD applications are just one sector of novel foods; we were committed to review the novel foods legislation upon leaving the EU to optimise the balance of encouraging GB food chain innovation and food safety expectations.


  • Novel foods are any food that don’t have a significant history of consumption in the UK before May 1997. Novel foods need to be authorised before they can be placed on the market in Great Britain. The Novel Foods Framework is the legislative requirements relating to the authorisation of these products

  • EU Food Law continues to apply in Northern Ireland, under the current terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Only novel foods authorised by the European Commission may be placed on the Northern Ireland market. Under the provisional Common Framework for Food and Feed Safety and Hygiene, Northern Ireland continues to fully participate in the risk analysis processes concerning food and feed safety

  • The Government commitment to the Novel Foods Review is referenced in The Benefits of Brexit Paper (HM Government, January 2022: Page 63)

  • As a government agency we are required to publish a copy of the contract and contract details on the transparency site Contracts Finder within 30 calendar days of the contract award date. The contract award start date was 12/12/2022 and the Contracts Finder notice was published on 19/12/2022. We also published a ‘Find a Tender Awarded Notice’ on 19/12/2022

Let's look at 'The Benefits of Brexit', and on page 63 it states the following:

"Reviewing our novel foods regulation to support innovation in the sustainable protein sector. We will use the freedom Brexit gives us to review our novel foods regulatory framework. This will include working with the Food Standards Agency to update the process for approving novel foods, to create a transparent and effective system that is the best in the world for innovators, investors and consumers and encourages safe innovation in the sustainable protein sector." The Benefits of Brexit, P.63, and if you're fixated on 'the sustainable protein sector', you'll fall into the trap of thinking that this isn't about CBD products
'Transparent' as a word is mentioned, but have the FSA been transparent with the industry, with this document or anything else related to reforms of Novel Food Regulations?

Just before the FSA's reply I took it upon myself to conduct an industry poll, the following statistics were from the point that the poll closed, although it is still open to see if a wider view is possible.

102 people filled in the poll by 6pm on 26/02/23, 11 days after the FSA announced Deloitte on LinkedIn as the winners of the contract to independently review Novel Food Regulations:

  • 64% said they were not aware of Deloitte's connections to GW/Jazz and British Sugar

  • 65% were not aware that a tender had been published on 03/10/22 for an independent review of Novel Food Regulations

  • 84% believed that Deloitte's connections raises questions over their status as independent

  • 98% said it is wrong for the FSA to announce a tender winner over 2 months after they had awarded the contract, and only 13 days before its completion

  • 99% believe that Deloitte is not the ideal company to conduct an independent review of Novel Food Regulations

  • 74% believe that the FSA did not perform due diligence when awarding that contract to Deloitte

  • 96% state they have no confidence in Deloitte's ability to fairly conduct a review of Novel Foods Regulations

  • 82% believe that if the FSA have ignored conflicts of interest when awarding that contract, it would be time to consider legal action.

The full results of the poll were filmed for Hemp Hound TV, and sent into the FSA on 27/02/23 with a press request. The response to those questions can be found below.

I would like to go through each reply separately:

There were 8 tenders, and the FSA stated that they followed regulation 67 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. That's 7 potential chances of avoiding conflicts, which is important, especially when it comes to Regulation 24 of the same regulations the FSA quote from.

8 applications means 8 economic operators, so was it fair to the 7 that missed out knowing full well that the company who won the contract has conflicts in ties to several companies who would 'benefit' from a review of Novel Foods Regulations?

The FSA then go on to refute my claim that the contract was hidden from public viewing, however I still maintain that it wasn't viewable on the morning of 14/02/23, but was shortly after midday.

Whilst we're at an impasse on this matter, we're not when it comes to announcing contracts within specified government guidelines.

Section 50 of the Public Contracts Regulations state that contract winners should be announced within 30 days of either the awarding of said contract, or the conclusion of it.

If we go by the LinkedIn announcement on 15/02/23, that's 65 days after the contract was awarded, and 13 days before it was supposed to be concluded.

Now the FSA state that the contract was available for viewing on 19/12/22, but is that announcing a contract winner? And if that is classed as announcing a contract to companies who may be affected by the outcome, why 'further' announce the contract winner on 15/02/23 but only on LinkedIn?

More to the point, if the FSA announced the winner within 30 days, why have they only been able to produce two links to the government tender site and not one from them announcing the contract winner within the 30 days they claim they did?

Are industry stakeholders not to be informed of contracts like this? Because The Canna-Consultants apart from myself maintain that there was no announcements made on or before 14/02/23, and we're talking about qualified legal professionals. Why would they allow themselves to be quoted in a publication saying that, if the so called announcement on 19/12/22 was legally 'enough'?

There's something definitely not right there

Have you noticed that they chose not to answer my final question though?

Can you confirm whether it was known that Deloitte has clients currently named within a public interest disclosure complaint, which has a focus on conflicts within the world of cannabis, and was launched (15/07/2022) and accepted (08/12/2022) by the FSA before they awarded the contract to independently review Novel Foods Regulations?

That's right, 4 days before Deloitte won the contract to review Novel Food Regulations the FSA accepted a complaint from myself that in part focused on conflicts within the cannabis world (GW's 16 lab reports and 'undeclared interests' at important meetings).

So the FSA have either ignored conflicts or did not performed due diligence, they seem to be working on two different interpretations of 'announcing' public contracts, and they did not announce any contract winner to industry stakeholders or those most likely to be affected by the outcome of any independent review of Novel Foods Regulations.

That poll I mentioned earlier, one question was "do you think that the FSA are listening to the UK hemp and CBD industry's concerns in regards to Novel Foods?", 87% replied 'No'

But why would they do that, not listen that is, unless the intention is to grind companies down to a breaking point?

You might have noticed a part of Regulation 50 (above) was highlighted, and that's because I believe that the FSA have been disingenuous in their responses. 30 days... nope. Awarding the contract fairly and appropriately... same again.

That contract was hidden, I'm not in the habit of lying about something like this, but whether it was 'there' on the government tender site or not, the FSA's announcement on LinkedIn still suggests that they were hiding the winner of the contract until a point where no-one could raise issues with how it was awarded, and to whom.

The reason for this I believe is below, in a screenshot that explains public contracts just a little bit more.

(c)... doesn't it just jump out of the screen and slap you in the face with a wet kipper? It does to me, but that contract is not the only thing the FSA hid. They claim that a Novel Foods review was 'referred' to in a document called 'The Benefits of Brexit' (January 2022, no mention to this on the FSA's website or social media platforms), so why wasn't it shared with the hemp and CBD industry?

Allow me to quote from that Brexit document:

"Across all sectors, we will continue to support SMEs to achieve their potential through less burdensome regulation, improving access to finance, and support for exporters." The Benefits of Brexit 2022, P.34 under 'Business and Industry'. Novel Foods is mentioned in the 4th from bottom line in that section of the document in question.
It's a shame that 'effectively communicate' is not listed in the support for SME's

Back to reasons for hiding information though, just how would the commercial interests of the company concerned (economic operators) be prejudiced by releasing the tender information? Well you only have to look into Deloitte's clients and connections to see why!

The FSA couldn't use this clause though, not openly anyway as it would draw too much attention, so why not just 'pretend' to announce a contract winner within 30 days even though LinkedIn shows an announcement well after that time frame?

Did the FSA do any of these things on 19/12/22? And I mean the FSA, not the government tender office

A good question to consider is whether the government tender site is deemed as publicly available, I would argue that it isn't, in that very few of the public would know the site even exists.

Then we have to look at 'duty of care', which the FSA has over all the food and drink focused businesses that operate within the UK. They are known for announcing tenders on their website and social platforms, so why didn't they announce this one on time, as well as the 'Benefits of Brexit' document that referenced a review of Novel Food Regulations in the same manner?

In regards to obligations, the FSA definitely fits within the legal category

You might've heard me say the words "have we effectively communicated this point to the industry?", it was said to me by the FSA when I was in a meeting with them to discuss my public interest disclosure complaint, and I think now could be the time for the industry to misappropriate it for a new strapline.

Has the FSA effectively communicated anything with the industry?

Definitely not, and to me this situation with Deloitte is the straw that broke the camel's back, and shows without a shadow of a doubt that the FSA has little regard for you, me, or any other undesirables who happen to have businesses within the hemp and CBD industry.

The icing on that cake is that the FSA accepted a complaint in regards to their handling of Novel Foods for CBD products, that included conflicts within the cannabis industry, only to then award a contract four days later to a company, with conflicts involving named companies within the accepted complaint, to review Novel Food Regulations...

Breathe in deeply, can you smell negligence?

And finally!

People are starting to talk about GW/Jazz Pharmaceuticals unhealthy influence over the hemp and CBD industry, and I love it! It's slightly overdue, but all the same it is a topic we need to discuss.

Two weeks ago BusinessCann released an article asking if GW/Jazz had kneecapped the industry, the very next day an article came out that focused on GW/Jazz being involved in global studies on CBD vs psychosis (keep this in mind!)

Then less than a week ago, BusinessCann released another article which suggested that the hemp and CBD industry were ridiculing the MHRA yellow card list for CBD products, which states that since 2006 there's been 10 fatalities due to CBD products.

Surely not???

“88.2% of statistics are made up on the spot” Vic Reeves

Inappropriate quote maybe? Well I'm not sure, I'm not saying that the data is false, but I am saying that I suspect 88.2% of the MRHA's statistics have been correlated from reports and reactions from medicinal cannabinoid preparations.

There is one thing I'll stick my neck out for, and that's that none of the 10 deaths from CBD are as a result of taking food supplemental grade hemp and CBD products. If they were, you could bet your back teeth that we wouldn't have an industry right now!

And I'll go one further from there, and that's to say that GW/Jazz have shot themselves in the foot!

GW/Jazz are quoted in the BusinessCann article that talks about the MHRA's yellow card scheme, and as you can expect they are big fans... but, they also said this.

“Over recent years we have seen a proliferation of CBD-containing products across markets globally. We welcome the regulatory oversight of the MHRA and believe that this highlights that CBD is not a benign substance – it can present real safety risks, if not used under the supervision and monitoring of a healthcare professional."

The highlighted words are very important, because if you click here you will see the yellow card stats for CBD. Scroll down and you come to a section on the left called 'System Organ Class', unselect 'Select all', and then select the following:

  • Cardiac disorders

  • General disorders and administration site conditions

  • Neoplasms benign, malignant and unspecified (incl cysts and polyps)

  • Psychiatric disorders (remember that article for CBD vs psychosis?)

  • Vascular disorders

There's your deaths to CBD - interesting categories, right? Now do me a favour, get rid of the 5 categories above, and then select the following:

  • General disorders and administration site conditions

  • Injury, poisoning and procedural complications

  • Investigations

  • Surgical and medical procedures

The categories you have selected cover medical trials; three fatalities, 108 serious reactions, and 36 Non-serious reports (147 in total) come under these alone, and account for 224 reactions out of 874 since 2006. Add cardiac disorders, Neoplasms, psychiatric disorders and vascular disorders and you've got 193 reports (out of 289) and 378 (out of 874) reactions reported to the MHRA... what does that say to you?

If the answer is "not very much", ask yourself whether any company other than GW/Jazz Pharmaceuticals have conducted medical research and trials in the UK that focus on cannabinoid rich preparations.

Then you need to look at all of those categories, and then look at GW/Jazz Pharmaceuticals patents. You'll spot more than one or two connections there, and more so if you check into what medical trials have been conducted in the UK to date.

And what it all says is that CBD is not a benign substance

Certainly not when it comes to being part of medicinal trials, anyway. And if you're not quite convinced, let me just say one thing.

I have knowledge that covers a lot of areas, but two I really know about are cannabis and sound. I've been around the good 'erb in some format since I was 11 (36 years ago), and I've a degree in audio and music production.

It is my absolute professional opinion that the only way CBD can cause ear and labyrinth (inner ear) issues is when you've got a questionable product that has been administered in an absurd way, yet there's 3 reports of reactions in this area!

And that by all accounts is what hemp and CBD products are being judged by, the MHRA's yellow card scheme which includes data from GW/Jazz Pharmaceuticals products, as well as GW/Jazz's 16 lab reports, and now all we have to do is to wait for Deloitte's input to see how that's all wrapped up.


We all come together, draw our line in the sand, and fight for what we've built. You, me, consultancies and trade associations, and everyone who thinks that the FSA and MHRA are working for the benefit of one company at the expense of an entire industry.

"The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first." – Iyanla Vanzant, who speaks how The Hemp Hound Agency thinks.

For more information on The Hemp Hound Agency, what we do, or about Hemp Hound TV, email

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