Cannabis And Privacy On Collision Course In The UK?
As Brexit confuses matters, and the NHS considers a patient registry, what is on the agenda for the protection of cannabis patient rights?
The NHS has now announced a new cannabis patient database, even as the island sets sail for a general regulatory free environment in the aftermath of whatever Brexit will be. Beyond tens of miles of lorries on either side of the Channel, however, what does this mean for patient privacy generally in the UK? Will it merely follow the path of North American users, who are also caught up in the conversation about big tech and privacy rights?
Privacy and cannabis use has been a big issue just about everywhere, particularly since 2014 when Canada and the United States both began to move towards recreational reform. So far, at least in North America, the problems remain contentious, widely undressed, and as a result, in limbo, for now.
Europe is another matter. The medical market here has matured along with a renewed interest in both privacy rights and online shopping. In Europe proper, as a result, GDPR, or general data protection legislation is a big deterrent to getting it wrong.
Such trends are also unlikely to go away as Europe in particular, finally begins to challenge American big Tech and as of next year.
Even the newly brexited island off the west coast of the Channel has some kind of GDPR protection also known as the United Kingdom will be affected.
So far, beyond the proposed NHS database, a non-profit research organization is also gathering data under the rubric of ProjectTwenty21, which presumably will also then share such data with the companies that sponsor it.
It might be a “dodge,” but in a country with many issues about reconstituting itself as an independent actor, and further one after Covid, everyone is looking for a new way of doing things.
The question remains, however, whether the new solutions will be any less problematic as the old ones?
Hemp Advertising Does Not Obviate The Issues
As much as the recent European Commission decision on the regulation and advertising of hemp creates many opportunities for both brands and canna media, in particular, many jungles remain. This includes understanding how a recreational cannabis market is different from a medical one. In an environment where most patients are still caught in the black market and are unable to afford any legitimate channel for their drug, this entire debate means nothing.
Who Should Have Access To Cannabis Patient Databases?
The discussion about access to new drug and patient databases has been in the room since the establishment of the pharmaceutical industry in the last century. However, in a world where social media and marketing have redefined whole industries, starting with advertising itself, there are no easy answers. And while the cannabis industry in the UK may feel they have just been given a pass while Europe shoulders on with more challenges to big tech (far from cannabinoids), it will not be that easy, even next year.
Be sure to attend the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Europe in 2021.