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‘Reform Whitehall to speed up medical cannabis access’ – Conservative MP

The Conservative politician said access needs to be taken out of the Home Office’s remit and put into healthcare structures



Pro-reform Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter believes ‘we are winning the argument’ on access to medical cannabis.

Speaking at Prohibition Partners Live, the clinician and politician said he believes policymakers are listening but that the machinery of government is doomed to be slow-moving when it comes to change.

Appearing in a discussion alongside Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi and Drug Science founder Professor David Nutt, Poulter argued for Whitehall reform to speed up the process.

He said: “The concern for me is you still find a concern among politicians generally about the conflation of cannabis in medical use and the wider criminal justice issues.

“We’re beginning to win that argument and move the debate to a more sensible place but there is still that backdrop.

“I think we’ve got to be frank that because of Covid, and though we want to go much faster, the Department for Health has had other priorities.

“We need to put our foot on the accelerator now…and look at those barriers that are still in place.”

He added: “This conflation of criminal justice issues with broader medical issues need to be wrestled away from Home Office and Ministry of Justice and make sure it’s a health issue, that’s the biggest challenge.

“We’ve got to move this completely away form those government departments in Whitehall that are linked to prohibition and drug control and move it to healthcare regimes.

“I think we are winning the argument but we now need to see the mechanics put into place.”

Antoniazzi said she believes ‘the mindset of the public is changing – but the government isn’t coming with us’.

The Welsh MP wondered if the British government is hesitant because liberalisation in the medical sphere might ‘lead on to other conversations’ about wider use.

She said: “Every step the government makes is in the right direction…all be it very slowly.

“They are worried about opening the floodgates to a market and world that they can’t regulate and control and that is the concern they have and I just think it’s a great shame.”

Antoniazzi added that finding support in Westminster can be ‘like hitting your head against a brick wall’ but that it is coming to the surface.

She said: “The support is there, cross-party…the willingness and ability to change things on the regulatory side. There are massive stumbling blocks and we’re working hard to identify what they are.”

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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