New UK group aims to advance medical cannabis, CBD sectors

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A newly launched UK cannabis body, CanIndCou (CIC), says it will work on behalf of patients while promoting reduction of red tape it says is restricting the growth of the medical cannabis and CBD sectors.

The Council brings together clinics, patient access groups, doctors, insurers, producers and other cannabis groups, CIC said in a press release.

“It must not be forgotten that at the industry’s root are very unwell adults and children who, even after being lucky enough to receive a medicinal cannabis prescription, face high costs and long waiting times,” said Kate Thorpe, CIC Coordinator.

CIC said it intends to work with the UK government to push for legislative and bureaucratic reforms, and has reached out to government departments to establish dialogue. The head of the licensing unit at the Home Office has already responded, CIC told HempToday. In addition to the Home Office, CIC has reached out to the Department of Health and NHS England.

Patient needs

“Despite having a reputation as a globally dominant medicinal cannabis producer, the UK is almost entirely unable to cater to the needs of domestic patients,” said Mike Barnes, who is serving as CIC’s interim chairman pending formal elections.

“As it stands, there are numerous restrictions on full medical access due to unclear governmental bureaucracy, a lack of medical education and restrictive guidelines from NICE and other regulatory bodies,” Barnes said.

CIC said it is organizing a roundtable of leading public and private bodies to discuss how the UK can develop a robust cannabis industry which improves patient access and stimulates the post-pandemic economy.

Organizational chairs are to be appointed to subgroups focused on quality standards, parliamentary lobbying, research, environmental & social responsibility and hemp, CIC said.

The markets

According to a report launched by Maple Tree and Mackrell Solicitors in May, the UK medical cannabis market could be worth £2 billion, create almost 100,000 jobs and transform patient access if key reforms are enacted.

A separate report, released in May by the Association for the Cannabinoids Industry, showed the UK CBD market could generate £690 million (€800 million) in 2021 sales, but called for more government intervention and investment.

The industry and the government in the UK have wrestled with such issues as restrictions on harvesting and processing of hemp flowers, THC content for finished hemp foods, and product warning labels.

Cannabis and hemp stakeholders have meanwhile called for establishment of an office for medicinal cannabis, and a dedicated agency to license and oversee the CBD industry as they seek more support from the government.

Organizers had originally intended to establish the CIC, a private limited company, under the “Cannabis Industry Council” name but that plan was rejected by Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies, which objected to the word “cannabis” in the name, CIC told HempToday.

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