New Zealand supermarket chain Countdown has been forced to pull a hemp tea product from its shelves after 1 NEWS questioned its legality.

According to the news service, the Higher Living Organic Hemp Tea product breached several regulations including featuring a cannabis plant on its label.

The tea is imported from the UK, where it’s legal. However, it is labelled as containing CBD and under New Zealand law, only products containing hemp seeds can be sold for consumption.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said: “The packaging doesn’t look misleading in any way as far as I can tell, which is interesting. It should have been a bit more of a red flag for Countdown that the product did contain CBD.”

Countdown said hemp is a fairly new area and admitted to confusion around how the product first came to be on its shelves in August. It said all products go through a safety and quality process, which is now being reviewed.

Campaigners slammed the rules and said they should be changed.

Chris Fouley from The Hemp Store told 1 NEWS: “Our rules are so stupid and so restrictive at the moment that even Countdown finds themselves in breach.”

He said now was a good time to amend them while the cannabis conversation is fresh in people’s minds following the country’s recent referendum.

The tea is no longer available in its supermarkets, but Countdown is still offering it online.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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