A woman arrested during the raids on Canna Kitchen and Hemp Life on Wednesday has been released under investigation.
Brighton and Hove News understands that the 36-year-old woman was questioned over the supply of CBD flowers and oil, which police have told her are a Class B drug.
As well as supplying Class C drugs, a charge which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years, she was also arrested at an address in North Place for money laundering.
At Hemp Life, drugs and cash were seized and one man was interviewed under caution. At Canna Kitchen, a “substantial” amount of herbal cannabis – which the restaurant said was industrial hemp – was seized.
Trading Standards officers from Brighton and Hove City Council assisted the police during the raids.
CBD or cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive legal cannabis extract. Health products containing it have become very popular in the UK in recent months, with even Holland & Barrett launching a product containing it.
However, to be legal, it must contain no psychoactive cannabis strains such as THC.
According to a 2019 Home Office guidance note, selling or possessing pure CBD is not illegal, but if it contains any controlled cannabinoids, such as THC, it would be illegal.
It also adds: “It is our understanding that it is very difficult to isolate pure CBD, and in our experience many products in fact do not fully disclose their contents or provide a full spectrum analysis at an appropriate level of sensitivity to accurately and consistently determine their true content or control status.”
On Wednesday, Canna Kitchen said: “Our products contain CBD and trace elements of THC in line with the UK legal guidelines for pharmaceutical definitions and UK legal definitions of CBD products.
“If trace elements of THC render these products illegal, then by default all CBD products must be illegal in the UK. This would mean that many large high street chains are currently breaking the law.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Police in Brighton carried out three raids across the city on Wednesday (May 8).
“Warrants were executed at shops in London Road and Duke Street, and a home address in North Place, in connection with an investigation into money laundering and supply of class B drugs.
“At London Road drugs and cash was seized and one man attended a police station under caution for a voluntary interview.
“At North Place a 36-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in money laundering and the supply of class B drugs. She has been released under investigation.
“A further warrant was conducted at a shop in Duke Street and a significant quantity of herbal cannabis was seized.
“There were trading standards staff from the city council present during the warrants.”