A collective of farmers met on a former hemp farm site this month to launch a mass civil disobedience campaign to legalise growing hemp without a licence.
The campaign to legalise growing hemp aims to increase the amount of crop grown by UK farmers for use as food, CBD products, manufacturing and construction materials. After launching the campaign this month, the collective Liberate Hemp is inviting the public to join them on 18 June for a ‘mass grow’ in Bristol.
Despite the World Health Organisation saying that industrial hemp poses no public health risk, the growing of hemp is legally treated in the same way as growing high THC cannabis and is only permitted under a licence granted by the Drugs and Firearms unit at the Home Office. This means that even hemp plants grown for health, construction and manufacturing purposes are subject to a strict licensing regime, regardless of THC content.
In addition to the public mass hemp planting in Bristol on 18 June, Liberate Hemp is asking the public to openly grow a hemp plant at home explaining their personal motivations for doing so on social media and fixing signs in their gardens calling to legalise growing hemp.
Zena Winterbottom is the former production coordinator at Hempen, a hemp farm that was forced to destroy its crop mid-season in 2019. After Hempen ran out of traditional legal avenues to challenge government hemp policy Winterbottom left so that she could be free to take part in civil disobedience for full access to the hemp plant without jeopardising the business.
“Hemp is an amazing economic and ecological lifeline for UK farming but the licensing regime makes it really difficult to grow and produce it here. Instead, the government seems to want us to import from places with supportive hemp policies like Switzerland, France and China,” Winterbottom said.
“Like Hempen, farmers that have tried to do everything by the book and have been punished for it by being denied a licence without good reason,” she added. “One farmer was denied a renewal of his licence because his farm was near a nuclear weapons facility and another because it was near a bed and breakfast.
“Hemp is too important for the health of the nation, the health of our communities and the health of our planet to wait for the government to explain why they have criminalised growing it. As a movement we can do things that businesses can’t. We are going to start growing it at home and if that’s wrong they can prosecute us and justify themselves in court.”
Medcolcanna signs European medical cannabis sales agreements
The company has entered into sales agreements with German company, Greenstein, and Cantourage.
Canada-based globally integrated medicinal cannabis company with operations in Colombia, Medcolcanna, has signed two EU sales agreements for EU-GMP and CUMS-IMC certified dried flower.
Medcolcanna has signed agreements with German-based Greenstein, as well as Berlin-based Cantourage.
The sales agreement with German-based Greenstein has a three-year term, with the possibility of extension, and establishes a minimum purchase of 1200 kg during the first year, 2000 kg during the second year and 2,500 kgs during the third year.
Its sales agreement with Cantourage for Germany and the UK has a five-year term, with the possibility of extension. The initial forecast presented by Cantourage establishes approximately 800 – 1000 Kgs for the first year.
Cantourage will distribute the flower through its proprietary clinics and distribution in the UK and through its network of pharmacies in Germany. Medcolcanna has developed a new brand for distribution with Cantourage in UK and Germany, followed by Poland within the next few months.
Six Medcolcanna proprietary strains have been already registered with the German Narcotics agency, and the production will be based on supply from the Medcolcanna farm located near Bogota. Additionally, THC quotas have been granted by the Colombian Government and are in place with the first exports expected by October to November 2022.
CEO Felipe de la Vega commented: “It has being a long and difficult journey since we created the company. A market that we were trying to understand and anticipate but that was being created. Therefore, making decisions was more complex.
“CBD market for extracts and isolates became very competitive with the US hemp farm bill affecting projections. The market for THC extracts is highly regulated, requires multiple certifications and a lot of investment, and still is a very small market compared with flower.
“Now the approval of flower export has allowed us to really gain traction in Colombia supply, as a high quality, low-cost producer, and the result of it is the multiple contracts we have now in place and we continue to negotiate. Starting November 2022, we expect recurrent revenue with high margins and good profitability.
“This combined with internal decisions that have helped us to reduce our G&A and cash burn makes our company a sustainable and profitable target for investors and we are pretty confident that before the end of the year we will be in a completely different situation.
“We continue supplying internally medical formulations currently approximately 300 per month and growing at 15 per cent per month. Now we are really getting to an interesting point for the company, with a very clear path forward and the possibility to generate profits for our investors.”
Curaleaf partnership to build platform for German recreational market
The company has entered into a strategic partnership with Germany’s Four 20 Pharma.
Curaleaf has acquired a 55 per cent stake in Four 20 Pharma – a fully EU-GMP and GDP licensed German producer and distributor of medical cannabis with its own product line.
Germany currently represents the largest medical cannabis market in Europe, with a total addressable market of over €200m (~£m) in 2022. This is expected to grow to nearly €1bn by the end of 2024 with the expected legalisation of recreational cannabis, expected to begin in late 2023 or early 2024.
Four 20 Pharma is one of the largest cannabis operators in Germany, with a greater than 10 per cent market share.
The partnership creates a strategic pathway for Curaleaf to acquire complete control of Four 20 Pharma within two years of the commencement of adult use in Germany. Curleaf has stated that the partnership also ensures alignment between Curaleaf and Four 20 Pharma’s current management team to rapidly build a best-in-class German business and a strong platform for Germany’s eventual adult use market.
Curaleaf executive chairman, Boris Jordan, commented: “By partnering with Four20 Pharma, Curaleaf’s European business will immediately gain additional critical mass and be in a superior position to capitalise on the accelerating trends in the European cannabis market.
“The opportunity in Europe cannot be understated, and Curaleaf is uniquely differentiated from other US MSOs via our already significant presence as the largest and most licensed cannabis company in Europe.
“With cultivation facilities in Portugal, manufacturing facilities in Spain and UK, rapidly growing patient numbers across Europe, particularly in the UK, Curaleaf serves the entire legal cannabis ecosystem and is also poised to capitalise on the adult use opportunity as regulation starts to unlock.
“This strategic transaction further underscores our aspiration to be the major player in the European market and the leading global cannabis company.”
President of Curaleaf International, Miles Worne, said: “Four 20 Pharma is a leading German distributor with a branded product that consumers love. They’ve captured significant market share in Germany by sourcing product from top EU-GMP certified suppliers around the world and building strong connections with German medical consumers by providing the highest quality flower in a namesake branded offering.
“As such, Four 20 Pharma is uniquely positioned to capitalise on Germany’s conversion from a medical to an adult use market and we’re thrilled to be partnering with their talented management team.”
Managing Partner of Four 20 Pharma, Torsten Greif, commented: “We have been exploring possible partners to stake our claim in the future German and European cannabis markets, and in Curaleaf we know we’ve found the undisputed leader and the best partner.
“From the beginning of our conversations, it was clear that they supported our strategic vision and respected our autonomy and entrepreneurial approach. Having full access to the tremendous knowledge and assets of the Curaleaf team will accelerate our future growth projects and help drive our company to the next level.”
Managing partner of Four 20 Pharma, Thomas Schatton, added: “Curaleaf shares our values of customer dedication and commitment to product quality, and we are incredibly excited about our future together.
“The team at Four 20 are thrilled to be able to leverage Curaleaf’s proven R&D expertise to help us continue delivering the best quality products to our medical patients and the promising future market.”
Tenacious Labs acquires CBD pet company Rover’s Wellness
The acquisition is part of Tenacious Labs buy-and-build strategy.
Tenacious Labs has diversified into the pet care market with the acquisition of Rover’s Wellness, which specialises in THC-free CBD.
The acquisition sees the group diversify into the high-growth pet care market for the first time. CBD pet care, according to Prohibition Partners, is expected to see global sales of products reach $424.4m (~£350.83) by 2024, representing a CAGR of 18.6 per cent.
As part of the acquisition, RaChelle Baca-Lobre will join Tenacious Labs as global director of sales – pet division and CPG wholesale and private label. Tenacious has stated that Baca-Lobre’s personal passion for CBD-enriched pet care, as well as her experience in managing a fast-growing brand, will prove invaluable for the Group as it looks to scale up its pet care division over the coming months.
CEO and co-founder of Tenacious Labs, Nicholas Morland, commented: “We are delighted to welcome RaChelle and her team to Tenacious Labs.
“Since launching in 2018, Rover’s Wellness has grown rapidly, launching genuinely market-leading products which have been well received by customers across the US. This acquisition will enable us to kick-start our pet care division, while combining RaChelle’s expertise and Tenacious Labs’ high quality manufacturing capabilities to significantly scale up Rover’s Wellness.
“We look forward to working with her closely over the coming months and years.
Tennessee-based Rover’s Wellness creates high quality products containing all natural, non-GMO ingredients including 100 per cent certified organically grown hemp. The company was founded by Baca-Lobre in 2018 after her own pet was diagnosed with cancer. Rover’s Wellness offers a range of oils, topical salves and treats which use CBD to support joint flexibility and mobility, ease anxiety and promote positive long-term health for dogs, cats and equine.
A core part of the brand’s approach is its commitment to testing and transparency. Leveraging a “seed to sale” approach, Rover’s Wellness works directly with growers and uses state-of-the-art nano technology to extract CBD before purity testing.
Each batch is tested by a certified industrial hemp laboratory, both before and after production, with all lab-results published on its website. This process ensures that none of Rover’s Wellness products contain THC – the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis which is harmful to animals.
Baca-Lobre said: “I am excited to join Tenacious Labs, a group which reflects my desire to create safe, natural and quality products, underpinned by third-party laboratory testing.
“We have enjoyed great success to date, and I believe that by harnessing Tenacious Labs’ best-in-class manufacturing facilities, marketing expertise, and operational support, we can unlock more exciting growth opportunities for Rover’s Wellness and the group’s broader pet care division.”
Tenacious Labs has now completed three acquisitions since launching 12 months ago, including female-focused CBD brand Press Pause and high-quality white-label manufacturer SZM LLC — now operating as TL Manufacturing. The group has also continued to expand, now employing 35 people around the world as it looks to scale up.
- Medcolcanna signs European medical cannabis sales agreements
- Curaleaf partnership to build platform for German recreational market
- Tenacious Labs acquires CBD pet company Rover’s Wellness
- Khiron announces opening of first Zerenia medical cannabis clinic in Brazil
- MGC Pharma receives first tranche of funding under new $10m financing facility