According to a new report, due to antiquated licencing systems, the UK is missing out on a potential £1.2 billion medicinal cannabis market with an employment of 41,000.
This comes from drug policy reform organisation Volteface, who claim that a thriving medical cannabis market could create 41,000 jobs with a further 17,000 ancillary jobs due to a market opened up by Brexit.
The reported titled New Leaf: Beyond Brexit, Countering Covid analyses the current medical cannabis market and suggests measures and steps that can be taken by the government to maximise the potential of the market.
It also argues that the appointment of a cannabis tsar, a government advisor to help create legislation, could streamline regulatory processes and help the industry boom.
Simple regulatory matters are now handled by the Home Office, which causes unnecessary delays and costs the public money. The reports makes the case that the appointment of an official can stop delays which are costing time and money.
Other suggestions from this report include The Food Standards Association providing distinct clarity on the amount of THC that should be permitted in CBD products; further investment into the industry from The British Chambers of Commerce; allowing UK farmers to extract CBD from hemp flower; and amend the regulation which only allows certain licenced doctors to prescribe cannabis prescriptions.
Speaking about the report, Katya Kowalski, Head of Strategy at Volteface and lead author of the report said: “It is an exciting time for the UK cannabis industry, as it stands on the brink of expansion.
“The space must capitalise on sustainable growth and encourage innovation in order to be seen as a serious industry.
“The report’s findings indicate the opportunity for a lucrative market is there. Now the UK must work toward streamlined development so the sector truly takes off.”
Daniel Pryor, Head of Programmes at the Adam Smith Institute and author of the report’s foreword said: “The UK is in a unique position to reap the benefits of medical cannabis and CBD.
“Thanks to our sensible, liberal approach to regulation, these fast-growing markets are already attracting innovation, investment and jobs to our shores.
“But we can still do much more to become the European leader in these sectors, bringing huge benefits to patients and the economy whilst cementing our reputation as a global centre for excellence in research and development.”
Read the full report here.