Convenience stores and vaping shops selling e-liquids containing CBD are the targets of an undercover police narcotics operation, according to a senior industry expert.

The industry expert told RN: “There’s evidence to suggest that the police are undertaking secret shopping of CBD e-liquids in retail premises to test suspicions that many could contain illegal levels of THC – the illegal active ingredient in cannabis.”

CBD oil is harvested from cannabis plants. The law requires that e-liquids must contain less than 1mg of THC per product.

The industry expert warned: “If this is proven by testing it is likely a crackdown on the CBD market will follow, in partnership with trading standards departments and the MHRA.”

A series of police raids in Devon and Blackburn targeted vaping stores selling CBD products in early September.

Much of the confusion comes from manufacturers falsely believing that the legal limit is 0.2% THC. Applied to a 10mg e-liquid bottle this would create a product that contains 1,900% above the legal limit.

One manufacturer warned: “It is very possible that a lot of the CBD oil in this county could be illegal.”

Another manufacturer and Cannabis Trades Association representative Cefyn Jones added: “There are suppliers out there that are ignorant of the law. This creates uncertainty for retailers and often even the police are scratching their heads trying to enforce laws that were never designed for CBD products.”

Responding to the operation, Ferhan Ashiq from Day-Today Ashiqs store in Prestonpans said: “I’m going to stop selling them until it’s all sorted out. Wholesalers should have lab reports to hand when approaching retailers.”

Another industry source at Medic Pro – a company that advises e-liquid manufacturers advised to only buy from reputable suppliers, added: “Request a lab report from the manufacturer on the raw material. The advantage of a test on the CBD product itself is that the lab report should also confirm the CBD content."