Is Boris Johnson’s Government About To Do Right By Cannabis?
The government task force examining how to regulate the industry suggests that the Home Office is not the best place to stick the cannabis industry – but not much else.
Sadly, Monty Python is not still doing skits lampooning British culture and government anymore. Or even Spitting Image. Regardless, and even without caricature to highlight the worst idiocies, the trajectory of British cannabis reform so far has been laughably cartoonish (where it has not also cost lives and of course been equally Dickensian.)
All of this makes sense of course when one realizes that so far, it has been the British Home Office – a large department that covers many unpleasant things about British life that cannot be called anything vaguely societally acceptable – that has handled all things cannabinoid from a policy perspective.
That now is about to change.
According to several paragraphs about halfway through the Final Report by the very officially named Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform presented recently to the Prime Minister, there needs to be a reform of the entire system in the UK. Further, that the regulation of medical cannabinoids should move to the Department of Health and Social Care as well as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
That said, the change in cannabinoid policy appears to be an afterthought, and further, tacked on a document that is heavy on the Brexit cheerleading and lacking a bit on fact-based reality – even about its characterization of the cannabis industry generally in the much-despised EU next door.
This starts with a characterization of all of this innovation now being allowed to flourish under the rubric of Brexit – if not setting the vaunted British Isles free of the “regulation of the continent.”
While there is clearly a problem with regulation in the cannabis industry – namely a lack of a clear, cohesive policy on the same in any country in Europe – there are a few countries well ahead of the UK on cannabis policy which is further allowed by the flexibility of being part of the EU.
Further, it is one thing to tout fundamental medical reform on this score and another to achieve it – no matter whether one is a country or an “island.” See Canada, where even after patients won the right to access the drug under a Supreme Court order, it took another 12 years to finally implement government agencies tasked with that kind of oversight.
So, while there is clearly regulatory change afoot for the industry that is likely to clarify the status of cannabinoids – at least as a medical drug – don’t expect anything so earth-shaking as say, Portugal, a member of the EU (or beyond that Luxembourg) are doing as of 2022. Or even Germany, which legalized the drug for medical purposes right around Brexit was being decided at the polls.
But you have to give them their due. The Brexiteers finally found cannabinoids. Now let’s see what they really do with them.
Be sure to book your tickets to the next International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns this summer to Berlin!