CBD and cannabis products have long existed in a grey area on the eBay marketplace but as regulations ease, so does the path for legitimate businesses to sell these products online.
It didn't make many waves here in the US, but eBayUK quietly cracked the CBD door open last month with the addition of gated sub-categories under Health & Beauty specifically for CBD products.
eBay told BusinessCann that while this is a pilot program, they intend for compliant CBD products to be available permanently on the platform and that it has ‘approved 20 CBD brands for launch across 15 individual Ebay stores’, including Love Hemp, Yooma Wellness, British Cannabis and Blossom.
"The regulatory framework around CBD products has evolved, enabling businesses to sell CBD food and cosmetic products in compliance with applicable regulations."
"Ebay has therefore decided to open up this category so that approved sellers, in compliance with applicable regulations, can offer CBD products that are already available for purchase through both online and high street retailers."
While vendors are able to apply to become approved CBD sellers, a process it says can take ‘several weeks’, Ebay says all products must be in the process of being validated by the FSA.
“Sellers comply with the UK regulations applicable to the sale of CBD food products and follow the authorization process set up by the FSA before placing the product in the market. If a validated application is not authorised by the FSA, the seller will remove the product as per the FSA guidelines.”
How do CBD sales on eBayUK work?
Sellers who wish to sell CBD products must fill out an application and once approved, those products must be listed in special CBD sub-categories.
The eBayUK policy pages have been updated as well.
CBD products that comply with all applicable legal requirements may only be sold by permitted sellers only. See the Food policy regarding CBD food products and the Cosmetics policy regarding CBD cosmetic products that are permitted for sale on eBay.
Activity that doesn't follow eBay policy could result in a range of actions including for example: administratively ending or cancelling listings, hiding or demoting all listings from search results, lowering seller rating, buying or selling restrictions, and account suspension. All fees paid or payable in relation to listings or accounts on which we take any action will not be refunded or otherwise credited to your account.
Just from a quick search, it does appear eBay is doing a decent job of enforcing this new policy - all of the CBD products I checked were listed only in the CBD specific categories.
What does this mean for eBay.com and other countries?
CBD policy on the US site in particular has long been a point of confusion and frustration for sellers. Back in 2018, eBay disclosed shoppers purchased 39,000 cannabidiol (CBD) oils and supplements and conducted 284,000 related searches. However, at the same time, many sellers complained of having their accounts shut down for selling CBD products.
Back in 2019, an eBay rep on Twitter stated CBD products had been prohibited globally due to various regulations and difficulty of enforcement - while that is obviously changing for the UK, I wouldn't expect it to change for US or other locations any time soon.
Also in 2019, when asked for clarification on eBay's policies regarding CBD, community staff member Trinton said:
At this time, we do not allow for the sale of pure CBD oil, consumable products containing CBD, or any product containing CBD that advertises any sort of legal high or drug effect. Hemp products such as paper, roper, clothing, and cosmetics are generally acceptable. Topical creams that include CBD oil as one of the ingredients and hemp oil/fiber are allowed as long as the previous guidelines are followed.
In summary, some products that contain CBD are allowed with certain restrictions. Pure CBD oil or products claiming a drug-like effect are not allowed.
For now, the UK site is the only eBay market where it is explicitly allowed for approved sellers - sellers in other countries should be warned that just because they may see other sellers doing it, doesn't mean it's not a violation or couldn't be cause for having their accounts shut down.
What do you think of eBay's new CBD policies for the UK? Do you trust eBay's application and vetting process for restricted categories? Let us know in the comments below!