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Hemp: Controversial energy drink gets go-ahead for launch in the UK

Posted on June 12, 1997

Home Office approves cannabis extract drink

(Photograph Omitted)
Hemp, the energy drink containing extract from the male cannabis plant, has finally gained approval from the Home Office.

Analysts have finished product tests which have confirmed that the controversial drink does not contain a controlled drug.

Hemp contains extract from the male cannabis plant, known as hemp, which is grown and sold legally throughout Britain and lacks the narcotic properties of the sister plant.

Selfridges is planning to be the first store in the UK to sell the drink, as exclusively revealed in Marketing Week (June 5).

Sarah Shepley, marketing director for Surrey-based Shackleford Sales, the exclusive UK importers and distributors of the Netherlands produced drink, confirms that negotiations are currently underway with supermarket chains, off-licences and other retail outlets.

Hemp is already sold in the US, South Africa, the Netherlands, Austria, Norway, Germany and Luxembourg. It is being marketed as the “alternative energy drink” and contains grapefruit juice, caffeine, a collection of vitamins and the slightly “nutty“ flavouring of Hemp.

The plant, which is used in the manufacture of jeans, cosmetics, paper and furniture oil, is legal providing it contains less than 0.3 per cent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance which produces marijuana.

The UK launch of the drink has been met with outrage in the national press, although Shepley says that Surrey trading standards department approved both the packaging — which features the cannabis leaf — and the product several weeks ago.

The launch will be accompanied by promotional merchandise such as caps, jackets, T-shirts, banners and posters. A sponsorship deal has also been signed with US boxing contender John “Ice Man” Scully.

Copyright © 1997, Marketing Week. All rights reserved.