The APPG for CBD Products has presented a business plan to future proof the UK cannabis industry which would help create 594,000 jobs and a £5.5bn annual tax opportunity.
The APPG for CBD Products has presented a series of recommendations to the UK Government in order to create a well-regulated, multi-faceted and competitive UK cannabis industry.
The group, co-chaired by Crispin Blunt MP and Baroness Manzoor CBE, say that the business plan will – if implemented – future-proof the UK farming industry, boost technological innovation, domestic manufacturing and tourism, while creating more than 594,000 new jobs and contributing over £5.5bn in annual tax revenue.
Informed by feedback from trade bodies representing over 70 per cent of the UK’s cannabis sector, the business plan provides a clear picture of the key areas of opportunity for a domestic cannabis industry.
This will support the Government in its duty to ensure the availability, affordability and assortment of cannabis-based products to protect consumers and eradicate the need for the illicit market, while creating a new wave of jobs in rural communities.
Crispin Blunt MP, co-chair of the APPG for CBD Products, commented: “This broad industry analysis highlights significant potential opportunities, as well as some necessary early wins from intelligently improved regulation.
“Bigger opportunities could follow including destroying a vast illicit market, protecting children by reducing psychosis and crime.
“There is an economic incentive – potentially £5.5bn in annual tax revenue – to build a well-regulated sector that turns the UK into one of a few lucrative worldwide hubs. The more profound the change the greater potential opportunity.
“However, all these opportunities require urgent analysis first, so Her Majesty’s Government must acquire that analytical capacity to lead the discussion, and do what needs to be done well, whilst acquiring the confidence to do what can be done in the overall public interest.”
The business plan states: “Amid rising consumer demand and economic pressures brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises, governments around the world are recognising cannabis as a significant driver of economic growth and tax revenues.
“In this context, the debate around full legalisation in Washington, Berlin and other world capitals has shifted from ‘if’ to ‘how’.
“The UK has significant domestic capability, expertise, and consumer demand for cannabis-based products. Post-Brexit, there has never been a better time for the UK to seize the opportunities offered by the sector and establish itself at a leader in the emerging global cannabis industry.”
To achieve the significant value creation potential, better protect consumers and seize the urgent and time-limited opportunity that the industry currently presents, 23 specific recommendations have been proposed.
- Move hemp licensing from Home Office to DEFRA: To put the UK on a competitive footing with other hemp-producing countries, the licensing of industrial hemp cultivation should be moved to DEFRA, whose staff have agricultural expertise and are better qualified than those in the Home Office to assess applications for hemp cultivation.
- Commission a review of the Novel Food Regulations and its applications to hemp-based food supplements: Today, the vast majority of CBD food supplements sold in the UK are imported. This is due to current restrictions on hemp cultivation and the onerous Novel Food (NF) process, both of which effectively preclude UK farmers from accessing this high-value-add consumer segment of the CBD sector.
- Establish commercially viable THC limits in consumer products: the current focus on permitting only CBD isolate sales in the UK nullifies the potential economic benefits for a domestic UK industry, as isolates are an oversupplied commodity dominated by US and Chinese manufacturers.
- Allow GPs to prescribe cannabis and remove the requirement for doctors to triage their prescription with two other peers: the current procedure is slowing down the process and creating unnecessary barriers.
- Reform the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002: At present, investors remain cautious about investing in the cannabis sector, owing to the risks associated with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. As a consequence, proceeds from medicinal cannabis business in states such as Colorado may constitute “criminal property” even if fully legal and authorised in the foreign state.
The APPG also believes there is an opportunity for the UK to establish an international lead – structured correctly, led by Whitehall, and including co-operation between existing trade bodies and business with the aim of measurable benefits to be achieved in 2023.
This includes the issuance of terms of reference for the work required to create a hemp and cannabis industry, naming of a Cabinet Minister responsible, and developing detailed implementation plans.
Baroness Manzoor CBE, co-chair of the APPG for CBD Products, said: “This plan demonstrates clearly that an impressive opportunity is realisable in the near term. Vast medical, wellness, and economic benefits are available by forward-looking regulation and energetic political and administrative leadership.
“The plan, and subsequent actions and recommendations, should be seen as a framework to support the UK economy in achieving the value creation potential that cannabis presents.”
Cross-party group established for recreational cannabis in Europe
#LegaliseitEP is focusing on human rights-based cannabis policy – “it is a matter of freedom”.
The group, made up of MEPs from five different parties, has formed to facilitate discussions around amending policy for the personal use of cannabis in Europe.
As countries such as Malta, Germany and Luxembourg have announced progressive amendments to cannabis policy, the informal interest group is supporting human rights-based policies for the personal use of cannabis.
The group is made up of the MEPs Luke Flanagan of Ireland, The Left; Mikuláš Peksa of the Czech Republic, Greens; Monica Semedo of Luxembourg, Renew; Cyrus Engerer of Malta, S&D; and, Dorian Rookmaker of The Netherlands, ECR.
In an open letter to 705 members of the European Parliament, the group states that Member States should have the autonomy to create cannabis policy that reflects the needs and specificities of their society.
As well as encouraging the MEPs to join the group, the open letter also calls for more information sharing between Member States regarding recreational cannabis and for fact-based discussion on cannabis, which the group says has been subject to misinformation for a long time.
The letter states: “Due to outdated and unpredictable patchwork of legislation, citizens across the EU are often finding themselves being forced to turn to the black market or even worse, imprisoned for being in possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use. This does not reflect the level of freedom we have come to expect from living in Europe.
“We cannot deny that with new legislation coming forward within EU Member States, we are likely to find ourselves facing repercussions at an EU level. As MEPs, we want to build on this momentum and create a cross-party interest group within the European Parliament, where we will share best practices, talk to experts, organise hearings and conferences, as well as debate the situation of personal use of cannabis within the Union.”
Monica Semendo, of Luxembourg’s Renew, stated: “I am in favour of the legalisation of cannabis and cannabis products because it is a matter of freedom.
“It’s a matter of one’s own choice. And if someone decides to consume cannabis, they should have access to a safe product.
“We have to focus on transparent information, education programmes and risk reduction, especially for young adults.”
Cyrus Engerer of Malta’s S&D, stated: “People should have the right to take autonomous informed decisions about their lives, including whether or not they use cannabis.
“Let’s talk basics. No one should go to jail over a joint. And now for some real talk – many people still are.
“Where I come from – Malta – we are the first European country to fully legalise cannabis use Germany, and Luxembourg will soon follow it. It’s time that we talk about cannabis and our personal freedoms and rights.”
Hear what the founding members of #LegaliseitEP have to say about why they’ve decided to launch a cross party @Europarl_EN interest group on #Cannabis & #CannabisLegalisation @lukeming @RookmakerDorien @MonicaSemedoLux @vonpecka @engerer pic.twitter.com/b20NDFOAmg
— Legalise It EP (@LegaliseIt_EP) July 14, 2022
Greenrise welcomes cannabis policy developments in Germany
The company is preparing for the potential legalisation of adult-use cannabis in Germany.
Greenrise Global Brands has welcomed recent developments in Germany as it awaits guidelines from the German Government in the coming months.
Germany’s “traffic light” coalition made plans to legalise recreational cannabis official in November 2021 with the publication of its agreement.
The coalition, which includes the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and The Greens, agreed to legalise the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for “pleasure purposes”. With a focus on health-oriented cannabis policy, the development aims to move consumers away from the black market, control quality of products and ensure the protection of minors.
This year, five hearings are planned throughout to discuss the legislative process on the controlled supply of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes, with the first meeting being held in June, at the Federal Ministry of Health.
The Federal Government is anticipated to submit a draft law to Parliament (Bundestag) by the end of 2022.
Greenrise Global, which has a wholly-owned medical cannabis subsidiary, AMP Alternative Medical Products GmbH that imports EU-GMP medical cannabis from within the European Union and elsewhere and has well-established relationships with pharmacies and clinics across Germany, has welcomed the development.
Supporter of the health benefits of cannabis and a keystone shareholder and director of Greenrise, as well as co-founder of CannaCare Health, Frank Otto, commented: “The consultation process shows that Germany is no longer talking about whether to legalise adult-use, but how.
“We also believe that there will be a domino effect as European countries are watching very closely as Europe’s largest economy joins Canada and California in legalising cannabis for adult use.”
AMP Alternative Medical Products has reported that preliminary unaudited sales for first half year 2022 increased 14 per cent to €268,479 compared to sales of €236,399 during the first half year of 2021.
Greenrise acquired 51 per cent of CannaCare, which sells CBD wellness products through traditional retail channels in Germany and German-speaking markets in Europe, at the beginning of Q2. The company has reported that preliminary Q2 unaudited sales for CannaCare increased 187 per cent to €474,000 compared to Q1 2022 sales of €165,000.
Managing director of AMP and director of Greenrise, Dr Stefan Feuerstein, said: “The exceptional sales growth from CannaCare during the second quarter confirms our strategy of investing in CBD in addition to medical cannabis as we prepare for the potential legalisation of adult-use in Germany.
“We look forward to the government providing guidelines in the coming months, which will provide certainty on how and when to position our businesses.
“We expect pharmacies to play a significant role and are preparing our pharmacy customers for the possibility of selling adult-use products as well as soon as legislation is in effect. We also realigned our medical cannabis business by streamlining our medical sales team, offering more pharmaceutical cannabis products to doctors to prescribe and are preparing to import high-THC flowers from several European cultivators.”
CFO of CannaCare, Dr Tilman Spangenberg, commented: “Greenrise’s investment allowed CannaCare to launch its CBD products in three leading German drugstore chains, which dramatically increased sales in a very short period of time.
“We expect the full impact of this sales channel to unfold in the third as well as fourth quarter. Our priorities for the remainder of this year are to grow CannaCare’s sales and operating cash flow positive by introducing new sales channels and adding additional drugstore chains.”
Switzerland’s amendment on medical cannabis comes into force
The Swiss government announced in June that rules for medical cannabis will be simplified.
Today, 1 August 2022, Switzerland’s amendments to its Narcotics Act come into force, which will allow patients in the country easier access to medical cannabis.
Switzerland has now joined a number of countries across Europe that are enabling patient access to cannabis by removing its ban on the medicine.
Previously, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) required exceptional approval for use of medical cannabis. This reduced patient access to cannabis as administrative processing was unable to keep up with the demand from potential patients.
The use of medical cannabis will now be subject to regular control measures. The defined limit of at least 1.0% total THC content remains unchanged.
Under the new amendments, medical prescriptions will no longer require an exceptional permit from the FOPH. Cannabis will be reallocated from Switzerland’s Narcotics List Ordinance list from List d, which is prohibited narcotics, to List a, which is all substances subject to control measures), along with preparations such as extracts, resins, oils and tinctures.
Dronabinol and THC will now also be included List a “provided there is an intended medical purpose”.
The new amendment enables doctors to make the decision on whether a patient requires a medical cannabis prescription, speeding up the process of accessing the medicine for patients.
The medicine will now enter Switzerland’s pharmaceutical system and controlled by the health authority SwissMedic, which will be taking over the role of the country’s Cannabis Agency for the cultivation of medical cannabis.
Under the amendments, there will be a two-stage authorisation procedure, which will require an establishment licence and an individual licence for the cultivation of medical cannabis.
SwissMedic has stated that the handling of cannabis for non-medical purposes continues to be generally prohibited and will continue to require an exemption from the FOPH.
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