Ahead of the UK Budget scheduled for 15 March 2023, an organisation representing the nation’s cannabis industry has urged Treasury to unlock the very significant economic potential of cannabis.
It continues to be an odd state of affairs in the UK. Although the largest producer of medical cannabis in the world, when it comes to local consumption all legal products consumed are imported.
According to the Cannabis Industry Council (CIC), the medical cannabis, hemp and CBD wellbeing sectors could provide a £2 billion boost to the UK’s economy.
“Despite the economic opportunity for the UK, it appears no cross-government plan covering the potential of the cannabis sector has taken place,” said CIC CEO Mike Morgan-Giles. “Additionally, there has not been any top-level view or analysis of how the regulatory environment is impacting the sector.”
In its submission to Chancellor Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, the CIC mentions some of the challenges the local industry faces. For example, the UK hemp industry licensing system not being fit for purpose and hemp farmers in the UK having to destroy hemp flowers – the source of CBD (cannabidiol).
The CBD wellness market in the UK is huge. Even back in 2019, it was reportedly larger than the nation’s total Vitamin D and Vitamin C market combined.
Another issue is cannabis policy in the UK is split across eight departments – including Treasury.
“The UK needs to seize the opportunity to lead the world in emerging economic markets and the medical cannabis, CBD, and hemp sectors provide an unmissable opportunity to do that,” said Mr. Morgan-Giles.
A white paper from 2021 made a number of recommendations relating to outdated laws and regulations hindering the UK’s CBD and wider medical cannabis industry; all of which the CIC supports. The organisation has also pointed to a recent report from the United Nations highlighting the benefits of hemp that recommended various regulatory reforms in countries where the crop is being held back.
The CIC has around 88 members, among them Australian companies including Althea and Cann Group.