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A vision for cannabis tourism in the UK

Cannabis tourism in the UK could look much like Scotch Whisky tourism, says the All Party Parliamentary Group for CBD.

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A vision for cannabis tourism in the UK
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Cannabis Wealth joined Tenacious Labs and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for CBD Products on a tour of Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery in Scotland to find out how cannabis could create a thriving economic sector, and what cannabis tourism could look like in the UK.

As the UK fleshes out its approach to cannabis, the UK’s APPG for CBD is encouraging the government to establish a solid industry sooner rather than later. The group is highlighting that a fully established cannabis industry in the UK could create thousands of jobs and millions for the UK economy as it attempts to bounce back from the economic harms of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nicholas Morland, CEO of Tenacious Labs and Chair of the Secretariat to APPG for CBD, has penned a manifesto, highlighting that the global turnover of the Scotch industry is £69bn as of 2021, and that the UK’s share of this is £5.5bn. It notes that the industry supports around 42,000 permanent high-value jobs, “the vast majority in rural areas and often employing people who prefer not to move away from hometowns or continue into higher education.”

Read more: UK Government must seize cannabis opportunity, says parliamentary group

The APPG for CBD has highlighted that, much like the Scotch Whisky industry, the UK could benefit from a home-grown cannabis industry that prides itself on premium products.

Morland states in his manifesto: “The UK is lucky to be in a peculiarly strong position to become the global powerhouse if the political will is there to provide the right framework to introduce clear, balanced, inclusive processes for legislation and regulation regarding updating POCA [Proceeds of Crime Act], consumer protection, quality standards, appropriate definitions and limits, research and development, banking, agriculture, insurance, London Stock Exchange listings and more.”

A vision for cannabis tourism in the UK

Cannabis tourism in the UK

The Scotch Whisky Association highlights that 2019 saw 2.2 million visits to Scotch Whisky distilleries, making the industry the third most popular tourist attraction in Scotland. The combination of tours, visitor centres and cafes draws tourists from around the UK and the world, spending an average of £38 per head, and the Association says that many distilleries believe that Brexit has given tourism a boost.

The APPG for CBD says that cannabis has higher economic potential than the Scotch Whisky industry, and that cannabis tourism could similarly reflect its set up. Tours of production sites with visitor centres, cafes and gift shops would generate a large amount of revenue as well as long-term careers as with the Scotch Whisky industry, that can see employees remain in the sector for up to 20 years.

Marika Graham-Woods, executive director of the Cannabis Trades Association and member of the APPG, commented: “By visiting Dewars, we were given the chance to see things from a different perspective and how it might apply to the cannabis industry. This opportunity could outweigh the risks following any overhaul of the outdated Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and related licensing of hemp growing.

“The legitimate industrial hemp sector is currently impeded by draconian, convoluted, and unsubstantiated laws which are not fit for purpose in today’s society. The history of cannabis and hemp in the UK spans beyond the length of its prohibition.

“By using proven marketing models such as the Scotch whisky and associated distilleries, the development of a regulated cannabis tourism industry would provide a further boost to the British economy.

“Visitor centres, tours, associated shops and in future, dispensaries, at these sites could demonstrate the benefits of cannabis – industrially, environmentally, as a food, and as a medicine are widely known. This could form a part of the historic and educational aspect of visits, increasing awareness to the wider general public, not just to proponents and patients.

A vision for cannabis tourism in the UK

“With the high costs involved in production of premium products, this has great potential to set the British Isles as the forerunner of a worldwide cannabis tourism market.”

However, tourism is not the only benefit to such sites. Currently, Jersey has been steaming ahead with establishing cannabis as a budding industry on the island. It recently made changes to its Proceeds of Crime law which will now enable companies to do business in cannabis as long as it is legal in the country where it is taking place. The island has also established a new Cannabis Advisory Board which is working to advise and inform the government.

Charlie Gallichan of the Jersey Farmers Union (also of Trinity Craft), who joined the tour, highlighted that Jersey wants to add cannabis to the island’s cash crops, such as its famous agricultural products – milk and potatoes. Hemp farms could provide a valuable crop for farmers when other crops fail, and a number of farmers in Scotland are already beginning to explore the possibility of adding hemp to their repertoire.

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Getting regulation right

In order for the industry to mature and prosper, regulation has to be right, says the APPG.

In a letter to George Freeman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, MP Crispin Blunt, co-chair of the APPG for CBD, alongside Baroness Manzoor, states that the industry is “crying out for clear and practical regulation.”

Blunt stated: “Getting CBD product regulation right is an opportunity to create thousands of jobs, draw in millions of pounds of investment and build on our international bioscience reputation, whilst simultaneously creating a safe consumer market which enables consumer choice.”

On the Dewar’s tour, Adrian Clarke, chief commercial officer at Tenacious Labs, highlights that regulations, such as those similar to units on alcohol products, should be introduced in order to move forward with regulation and bolster consumer safety.

Clarke commented: “Cannabis is going through the same process as post-prohibition alcohol. We already have the template for balancing legitimate consumer choice within the parameters set by essential consumer protection.

“Given the UK has an immediate opportunity to set the inevitable new standards, we also have the opportunity to define the premium space. The political decision is between prohibition and economic benefits, and then all the relevant parties, including the medical world, can finally be allowed to provide the right parameters.

“The result being that consumers will reliably be able to regulate their own consumption and will become increasingly discerning over time – challenging us to come up with ever more premium quality products.”

A vision for cannabis tourism in the UK

Image provided by the Cannabis Trades Association

This vision for cannabis tourism in the UK could manifest at a rapid rate if the correct regulations are implemented. A number of countries in Europe are beginning to take a progressive approach to cannabis regulation, and whilst the UK is currently leading the pack in the regulation of CBD products, current regulatory processes such as Novel Foods applications are, in some industry members’ views, potentially quashing the industry before it can flourish.

Morland states in the manifesto: “In short, this is the time for government to actively drive a new cycle of growth, investment and jobs with some simple, immediate and informed decisions. Yet the route legislation is currently taking outlaws all cannabis production, except isolate.

“Bluntly this would be a short-sighted mistake that doesn’t consider what is clearly the single most important economic opportunity available to post-Brexit UK, to legislate for and build a framework to enable a well-regulated home-grown Cannabis Industry.”

And goes on to say: “With a proper process established, post-Brexit UK has an excellent chance of becoming the leading force in the premium segment of the Cannabis Industry, generating massive economic benefits just like Scottish Whisky. Or it’s too hard, we don’t bother, and watch others doing it instead. It’s as simple as that.”

A vision for cannabis tourism in the UK

Image provided by the Cannabis Trades Association

Markets and industry

Curaleaf partnership to build platform for German recreational market

The company has entered into a strategic partnership with Germany’s Four 20 Pharma.

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Curaleaf partnership to build platform for Germany's recreational market
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Home » News » Markets and industry » A vision for cannabis tourism in the UK

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.

Read more: Curaleaf is championing social impact in the cannabis industry

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.

Read more: Curaleaf completes landmark registration of cannabis products in Malta

“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.”

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Markets and industry

MGC Pharma receives first tranche of funding under new $10m financing facility

The financing facility will fund the execution of MGC Pharma’s business commercialisation strategy in the UK and US.

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MGC Pharma receives forst trache of funding from Mercer Street

MGC Pharmaceuticals has confirmed it has received the first funding tranche of US$1.2m under a new US$10 million financing facility with Mercer Street Global Opportunity Fund.

The injection of funding will be used to further MGC Pharma’s business strategy, focused primarily on developing revenue growth through its partnerships with Sciensus Rare in the UK and Europe and AMC in the US.

The Mercer Street Global Opportunity Fund is managed by Mercer Street Capital Partners, a United States-based institutional fund manager and MGC Pharma’s largest shareholder.

The first portion of funding has been received in full and MGC Pharma will now issue 1.32m of convertible notes with a face value of US$1.00 each to Mercer Street. The company will also issue 21,511,545 fully paid ordinary shares to Mercer as part of the agreement.

The US$10m financing facility provides MGC Pharma with access to significant capital to fund the execution of its business commercialisation strategy in the UK and US as well as advance regulatory approvals for the company’s proprietary products in an effort to drive revenue growth, assist in the rollout of the ZAM App and provide funding for the group’s general corporate expenses.

The company will continue to implement “significant” non-revenue driving cost reductions within its operations, including the delay of non-core clinical trials.

Roby Zomer, co-founder and managing director of MGC Pharma, commented: “Mercer’s new US$10m finance facility provides the company with access to funding for MGC Pharma to continue to execute its business strategy of opening up key strategic markets over the next six months. During this period the business strategy will focus primarily on generating revenue growth through our existing relationships with Sciensus Rare in the UK and Europe, and AMC in the USA.

“In addition to its sales growth strategy, MGC is very excited about the potential value that the recent 40 per cent acquisition of the ZAM medical data collection App and its associated machine learning algorithm bring to the company.

“This investment is not only aimed at reducing R&D costs and providing the company with critical proprietary clinical data in the future but also provides the MGC with the potential for a future additional revenue stream and a value-creating asset on the back of the software’s successful implementation and rollout.”

The new US$10m financing facility fully funds MGC Pharma’s current business plan, the company said, and replaces the unused A$9.25 million of the previous funding facility established in September 2021.

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Love Hemp sees sales drop by 16%, expects revenues of £3.6m

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Love Hemp sees sales drop by 16%, expects revenues of £3.6m
Home » News » Markets and industry » A vision for cannabis tourism in the UK

Love Hemp Group has stated it is expecting to report total revenues of £3.6m for the financial year ending 30 June 2022, which it says represents revenues slightly ahead of management expectations.

The lower than expected financing earlier this year has resulted in significant reductions in marketing programmes, says Love Hemp. However, the company still experienced sales growth during the second half of the year.

The company’s revenue continues to be UK-centric with year-on-year growth delivered in major retail stores, showing revenue of £2.15m in FY22 up 19 per cent, compared to £1.78m in FY21.

Read more: Love Hemp CBD brand to launch on eBay

Direct to Consumer (DTC) sales continue to be slow via the company’s own online channels, lovehemp.com and cbdoilsuk.com but have generated 7437 new customers. The company has stated that these sales represent 26 per cent of total revenue, down from a 59 per cent share of total revenue compared in FY21, with a new head of digital commerce having been appointed to help grow DTC sales.

However, it has also highlighted that it has sold 233,987 units, up 19 per cent from last year. 

Read more: Love Hemp to appoint new AQSE corporate advisor

This year, Love Hemp had all 34 products added to the Novel Foods Register. As a result, it has agreed new major retail listings and anticipates launching a range of its products in these new stores and respective online platforms in Q4 of 2022. 

Additionally, the company has advanced discussions with a number of other major retailers interested in stocking Love Hemp products.

Tony Calamita, CEO commented; “I am delighted that we have continued to expand our footprint with greater distribution into major retail stores and delivered record sales of product units so more consumers than ever are benefiting from our products. 

“This has been achieved whilst undertaking a significant operational review and I am confident this growth will continue.

“The company plans to make Love Hemp more visible internationally and sales overseas provides a significant opportunity in the future. We are a dynamic and passionate brand that after some challenges is once again on a growth curve with the most powerful and influential brand partnerships in the sector. Now it is our time to really capitalise on the opportunity.”

In December 2021 Love Hemp was also awarded ‘Leading CBD brand 2021’ in the Commercial Cannabis awards organised by Global Health and Pharma. Love Hemp is also a nominated finalist for ‘Most Loved CBD brand’ in the World CBD awards due to take place in October 2022.

Over the next year, Love Hemp plans to invest further in product development and release numerous new products in both ingestible and topical formats.

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