A London Green Rush could be lining the pockets of city investors very soon. In the big smoke, there is a different kind of smoke on their minds. With a cannabis industry booming across the pond in the US and Canada, investors are already looking overseas for their investment. However, there is speculation that a change in legislation in the UK could spark a huge market potentially worth £18billion in 10 years.
Roughly £200million has been invested in medical marijuana companies overseas. It is worth noting that it is illegal for a UK investor to invest in companies that offer recreational cannabis). Canada is due to legalise recreational marijuana on 17th October, potentially making it harder for UK investors to invest in Canadian marijuana companies. With Canada is currently being the source of the biggest outflow of money into cannabis-based companies, this could open up space.
Cannabis contains two main chemicals, THC and CBD. THC is what creates the psychoactive response, and CBD is now being introduced in products in the UK. CBD is legal in most forms and comes from hemp, which is a cannabis plant that is low THC and high CBD. Health stores such as Holland and Barrett now stock a range of CBD products.
Cambridge based GW Pharmaceuticals has already won special licenses for the manufacturing of medicinal marijuana. They specialise in research, and also in products for the US. Which obviously helps the UK as it is an export.
According to Euromonitor, the global cannabis market could be worth up to $150billion in the next decade. To put that in perspective the global coffee market is worth $100billion.
Any investor who sees that prediction would be licking their lips. Through CBD, and maybe a change in legislation, the UK could be part of this growing market.
But there are those — like the family of Alfie Dingley — who are campaigning for change. Alfie Dingley is a six-year-old boy with a rare form of epilepsy, one that can cause up to 3,000 seizures every year. He received medicinal cannabis oils in the Netherlands, where cannabis laws are more relaxed. In Alfie’s case, medicinal cannabis dramatically helped with his seizures so much that he began having only 20 seizures a year. Alfie’s parents applied for a special exception for their son, which was initially rejected. However, they have now been granted a special licence for using the drug after handing a petition to the Prime Minister. This comes following a similar case for a boy called Billy Caldwell, had his mum campaigning for change.
The United Patients Alliance (UPA) is an organisation founded by Clark French which campaigns for the use of medicinal cannabis and advocates on behalf of patients who, in their words, are ‘being criminalised for trying to be well’. Though cases like Dingley and Caldwell are a step in the right direction, they believe more needs to be done to define medicinal cannabis. Their goal is to have medicinal cannabis available to a wider market and not have to go through parliament on a case by case basis.
Written By: Aiden Perrins
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