Broad medical cannabis legalization in the U.K. could be worth 1.2 billion pounds and create 41,437 new industry jobs and about 17,000 ancillary jobs, according to a Volteface report. The report, “New Leaf: Beyond Brexit, Countering Covid,” includes a variety of recommendations for the industry, including the appointment of a “Cannabis Czar” or government agency to oversee the industry, which the group claims would speed development.
“At the moment, regulatory matters must be processed through the Home Office. This is slowing down development due to a lack of a streamlined approach. A governmental body reserved for cannabinoid regulation, licensing and innovation funding is a necessary step towards further harmonizing development in the sector.” — “New Leaf: Beyond Brexit, Countering Covid”
The report clarifies that under the current regime, customs and other legislative bodies slow down supply and increase costs and, were the processes “simplified,” costs would be reduced and patient access would be improved.
The report suggests officials provide regulatory “clarity” around the amount of THC permitted in CBD-only products and proposes “such regulatory clarity” be done “in a way to ensure it encourages further investment and innovation.” Additionally, Voltface calls for allowing THC percentage above 0.2% and as much as 1% for hemp seed varieties, which the group claims “would improve the health of the plant and increase the yield of CBD per acre” while not affecting the end product, which could still have undetectable levels of THC.
Moreover, the report suggests changes to the current, very limited, medical cannabis program, including amending regulations that require specialist physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients. Voltface recommends allowing all physicians to be permitted to prescribe medical cannabis after they complete a Continuing Professional Development course.
“Ensuring that all doctors can prescribe medical cannabis is a huge and achievable win,” the report says. “The U.K. should follow in Germany’s footsteps in regards to how quickly the sector can grow if allowed. The U.K. should aim to help private patients achieve reimbursement on insurance.”
The organization also asserts that the only way to “fully unlock” the potential of the U.K. medical cannabis market is to “increase the evidence base for cannabis-based medicinal products … in order to expand patient access on the [National Health Service.]”
Daniel Pryor, head of programs for Adam Smith Institute, wrote in the report foreword that “widening patient access” remains the “elephant in the room” for medical cannabis in the U.K.
“The only way of successfully achieving this would be through a government-funded national trial,” the report says. “Forming strategic partnerships with well-regarded U.K. medical establishments is essential in bringing cannabis medicines into the mainstream medical ecosystem.”
Get daily cannabis business news updates. Subscribe