Will The British Parliament Finally Pass Meaningful Cannabis Reform?

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Sixty Members of Parliament call for reform of 50-Year-old UK Drugs’ Law

There is clearly a clarion call to change British cannabis policy right now – and it is emanating from increasingly senior politicians. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has recently advocated for at least the decriminalization of cannabis in the capitol, along with a review of how police respond to minor possession.

Beyond this, however, there is yet another call at the federal level, in Parliament, for a review of the by now 50-year-old law making cannabis illegal, and further, unequivocally calling the current law “a disaster.” The Misuse of Drugs Act was passed in 1971.

Millions of British Users

According to data gathered by researchers, there are at least 2.5 million British cannabis users – although again this is a mixture of people who have conditions that cannabis is used to treat as well as users of the “recreational” or “adult use” kind. It is impossible to tell how many actual users there are (and for whatever purpose) in part because the entire vertical is still basically illegal. It is now possible to obtain a British cannabis prescription that is reimbursed by the NHS, but it is very difficult – plus now impossible for chronic pain patients to do so.

That said, cannabis as an economic boon is clearly a topic of some interest in the UK – starting with economic development projects on the Channel Islands. There is, in other words, increasing logic, and from the public health vs. law enforcement kind as well as the strictly economic variety, that says that cannabis reform is in the offing in Brexited Britain.

The question is, how much, and of what kind?

Here are three places where the emerging British cannabis market is going to have impact – both at home and abroad.

The Great British Medical Export

Cannabis has been a staple of British exports for some time. See GW Pharma. However, over the past several years, increasing numbers of firms have begun to set up both cultivation and extraction facilities. Those are coming online now – even if the Channel Islands may be “exporting” as much to the British mainland as they do elsewhere.

The CBD Conversation

The UK is currently going a bit bonkers over CBD reform because well, it is better than nothing. In the meantime, there are important conversations this approach is opening – like the regulation of the market on the cultivation and extraction if not labelling front. See Novel Food.

The London Equity Markets

No matter what else is going on, London is undoubtedly going to emerge as a strong player in the international equity markets for cannabis raises. Where they might be challenged on the continent is unclear (Switzerland, Luxembourg and still perhaps the Deutsche Börse). But the LSE is clearly in the game now.

Be sure to book your tickets to the International Cannabis Business Conference when it returns to Berlin in August 2021 for a full overview of changing cannabis regulation across Europe and the UK.

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