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Hempflax CEO blasts UK and EU regulators after reporting bumper profits for 2020

The company’s CEO demanded better regulation for industry despite bumper profits



A major hemp grower has taken aim at regulators after it reported huge financial results for the year.

Hempflax, which makes a number of consumer and industrial products, grew by 43% in 2020 and saw its profits before tax rocket by 616%.

The bumper growth was driven by a surge in demand – up by 1,089% – for construction materials manufactured from hemp by the recently acquired Thermo Natur operation.

Covid-19 and national lockdowns also played a part, with sales of consumer wellness CBD products, including through Holland and Barrett stores, jumping by 42% during the pandemic and demand for hemp-derived animal bedding in the UK – where 3.2 million people acquired a new pet in 2020 – rising by 14%.

The company was also buoyed by renewed interest in hemp fibres in the automotive sector as an alternative to glass, including in the new Porsche Cayman GT4.

But in a statement accompanying the results, the company’s CEO parked the celebrations and instead lambasted European regulators.

Mark Reinders said: “This has been achieved against the unfortunate backdrop of regulatory uncertainty – notably in the CBD sector, but also present across the whole industrial hemp industry – which threatens to stifle innovation and competitiveness.

“UK and EU lawmakers urgently need to permit maximum THC levels of 0.3% in the field, thus facilitating the breeding of more varieties and aligning the European regulatory framework with other international jurisdictions, notably the US.

“Direct government funding is also needed to incentivise the development of carbon-negative hemp supply chains across the region.”

Reinders also said the hemp industry is good for global efforts to reduce carbon emissions, saying ‘for too long, doing the right thing by the planet has eaten into company profits’.

The company, which is based in the Netherlands and was founded in 1993, also has operations in Germany and Romania.

Politics & policy

NGOs call on INCB for transparency on cannabis initiative

Two letters have called for transparency and accountability on the INCB’s Cannabis Initiative Guidelines effort.



NGOs call on INCB for transparency on cannabis initiative

181 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have penned an open letter on the first anniversary of the UN cannabis vote raising concerns about international cannabis policy.

The letters raise concerns regarding how cannabis policy resulting from the down-grading of international cannabis prohibition is unfolding. The first letter has been addressed to INCB President, Jagjit Pavadi, and the second to UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is creating documentation inside the drug control system to facilitate worldwide medicinal cannabis trade and research. However, in a statement the NGO’s have said that: “The proposed global Cannabis Guidelines and the drafting process itself seem to contradict last year’s key scheduling vote by favouring an increase of restrictions.”

The letter highlights that the guidelines will orient and shape governments’ regulations, impacting the lives of many patients and farmers across the globe and undermining the work of doctors, health authorities, and many others.

The statement says: “INCB’s rogue initiative threatens trust in a functioning legal order affirmed on 2 December 2020. These letters spell out how we as civil society stakeholders want to help the INCB meet the challenges of our world. This is why we have compiled proposals inspired by successful working methods of the broader UN family. Our suggestions are summed up in six recommendations:

– Disclose INCB documentation like other similar UN bodies;

– Opt-in to the UN online documentation access and archival system;

– Extend the civil society consultations to all areas of work of the Board;

– Call for and collect written contributions from non-State actors;

– Allow NGOs and non-State actors to participate as observers in INCB meetings;

– Scale-up “country visits,” inspired in the human rights treaty bodies Annual Review Mechanism.

“Last year on this day, UN took the bold step of removing cannabis from the strictest Schedule of the 1961 narcotic drug Convention treaty, six decades after its placement, recognising the therapeutic value of this ancient medicinal plant and no longer considering it as “particularly liable to abuse and to produce ill effects.” The vote followed an independent scientific WHO assessment which reviewed evidence and multi-stakeholder testimonials from all corners of the world.

“Conversely, since 2020, INCB has been developing its Guidelines in complete opacity raising concerns about the legitimacy and scope of the process, a fuzzy mandate, and risks of conflicts of interest. While not binding, these Guidelines will impact and shape regulations of cultivation, trade, production, and use of a traditional, herbal medicine and a plant indigenous to many regions of the world. It risks becoming a standard, particularly among smaller nations with less capacity to establish their own regulations.

“Our organisations strive for global health, human rights, and sustainability. We recognise INCB’s importance in helping governments ensure access to and availability of controlled medicines for all patients in need but INCB alone can not shape the economic, social, environmental, and cultural future of our communities.”

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Markets and industry

Cannabis beverage market to reach £6.43bn by 2027

Fortune Business Insights says the market will grow at a CAGR of 50.9 per cent from 2020 to 2027.



Cannabis beverage market to reach £6.43bn by 2027

A new report has projected the cannabis beverage market to reach £6.43bn (USD$8521.6m) by 2027.

The report from Fortune Business Insights, which offers expert corporate analysis and data, has said the market is set to see increasing growth due to the surging popularity of the products. 

It noted that the online retail segment is set to dominate and that specialty stores would see greater sales if they display novel products online.

With consumer demand increasingly shifting toward chemical-free and natural trends and moving away from unhealthy consumption habits such as smoking, the report suggests consumers will increasingly move toward novel cannabis products like beverages. 

In particular, consumers in Europe and North America are rapidly inclining towards these trends, such as recognisable and herbal formulations, chemical-free, and all-natural cannabis beverages.

However, it highlights that governments of various countries are implementing stringent regulations on the distribution and manufacturing of such THC products – a factor that is likely to hamper the market’s growth in the near future.

Regionally, the sector is set to favour growth in North America, as, since the passing of the 2018 US Farm Bill, the demand for hemp-CBD has surged rapidly, according to the report. It also highlights that Latin America, Oceania, and Asia will exhibit slow growth because of the ban of cannabis beverages in these regions.

Recent developments have seen leading lifestyle brand, Tonino Lamborghini, move into the market through a licensing agreement with The Flora Growth Corp which will see the distribution of CBD beverages in North America and Columbia. Additionally, Canopy Growth Corp is planning to introduce a new range of cannabis beverages into the US to strengthen its position in the sector.

To read the report in full, please visit:

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Waitrose to stock Cannaray CBD Gummies

Cannaray has announced a partnership with Waitrose and Partners which will see them supply the chain’s 250 stores across the UK.



Waitrose to stock Cannaray CBD Gummies

Cannaray has been selected as the exclusive supplement supplier for Waitrose’s first steps into the market.

The partnership will see seven different Cannaray products including Cannaray CBD Day & Night Oil Drops, CBD Capsules and citrus-flavoured CBD Gummies in stores and online. The items will retail for between £18 to £36.

In a statement, Cannaray said: “Cannaray CBD was founded to make CBD easy and accessible for millions of new people, with a range of quality CBD products formulated to be effective and enjoyable to use, and all triple lab tested for purity.”

Tim Clarke, managing director, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Waitrose to introduce Cannaray CBD to their shoppers. CBD usage is rapidly growing across the UK and we are proud to be helping millions of Waitrose shoppers to try high-quality CBD as part of their regular wellness routine.”

The company launched one of the first CBD adverts on national television featuring their ambassador Claudia Winkleman encouraging people to ‘join the CBD revolution.’ They have continued to work with Winkleman who began using Cannaray products towards the end of 2020 to combat work and life pressures. 

She uses the capsules and the oils after her cousin recommended them during lockdown. 

Claudia said: “I’ve always wanted to lead a revolution and I’m delighted to be partnering with Cannaray CBD to lead the UK’s CBD revolution. I’ve become obsessed with CBD this year as it really helps me sleep and stay calm during bonkers days.”

Waitrose is not the only supermarket to stock Cannaray. Tesco already offers their muscle balm and creams along with Vitality CBD in store and online. Asda also stocks Cannaray offering a wide range of oils, capsules and gummies. 

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