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Report Calls for UK to Embrace Potential of Medical Cannabis Industry |

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An advocacy organization known as Volteface recently released a report entitled “New Leaf: Beyond Brexit, Countering Covid” explores how the United Kingdom (UK) is missing out by not fully embracing the opportunities of the medical cannabis industry. 

Head of Programming at the Adam Smith Institute, Daniel Pryor, wrote the foreword for the report, stating that the UK is poised to become highly successful if it embraces the plant. 

“The European market for medical cannabis is the fastest growing in the world, and our unique position gives us the prospect of becoming a leading player in medical cannabis and CBD,” said Pryor. 

“This paper provides a fascinating overview of the state of play in these markets, opportunities for growth and the regulatory questions that face the sector. It shows how the UK is in a prime position to become the centre of the European medical cannabis and CBD industry, as well as the significant economic benefits that would result.”

Volteface’s report estimates that the UK medical cannabis market could be worth up to £1.2 billion. With this much potential, it predicts that a full-fledged medical cannabis industry could create up to 41,437 jobs, and 17,000 ancillary jobs.

The report also includes a list of seven recommendations for the UK to embrace, including:

  1. A “cannabis tsar” or governmental agency to help drive the UK toward medical cannabis legalization and regulation.
  2. Clarity from the Food Standards Association in regards to the legal amount of THC allowed in CBD products.
  3. An investment in innovation for growth in the cannabis industry, as well as communication with the National Farmers Union “to represent producer interest.”
  4. Following up with a previous recommendation from Volteface, allowing hemp seeds/plants over 0.2 percent THC and up to one percent, which would “improve the health of the plant and increase the yield of CBD per acre.”
  5. Pursuing legislative changes to speed up the flow of products, which would simplify the process and improve patient access.
  6. Changing legislation that requires medical cannabis prescriptions to be made by doctors via the specialist register.
  7. Conduct a government funded national trial on medical cannabis products to “fully unlock the UK market.”

The entirety of the report is separated into four sections. First, “The Economic Opportunity,” recommending that the UK become an “investment hub” with some of the largest cannabis companies in the world, such as Aphria Inc, Aurora and Canopy Growth. The report identifies the top 20 markets (both European countries and U.S. states). “This UK market estimate demonstrates the immense economic opportunity the cannabis sector holds. 

By developing the UK into a European cannabis industry leader, this will hold a significant amount of capital, in the realms of £1.265 billion,” the report states. As mentioned previously, it also dives into the job-related data of many states in the U.S. and how cannabis contributes to the local economy as well.

Second, “The Innovation Opportunity” opens up the conversation about the potential growth, using case studies conducted on Kanabo, an Israel-based R&D company that created what the report calls “groundbreaking,” and CiiTECH, a CBD company focused on cannabinoid research which seeks to “legitimize CBD as a health product.”

Together, the report hopes that these case studies showcase the benefits of innovation, and argues that only through innovation can the cannabis industry push past decades of prohibition into a new and prosperous era.

Third, “The UK CBD Advantage” addresses a “novel food,” which is a European law that defines a product that does not have history prior to May 1997 as a way to monitor newer developed “foods” for consumer safety. With cannabis in mind, the report addresses the challenges of compliance enforcement.

Finally, “Increasing European Competition” covers the current industries in Denmark and France, ending with a call to action for the UK to remove its barriers to medical cannabis access and begin looking toward the future. 

“The UK industry is taking off with a quickly changing landscape. Though things are looking good, there is more work to be done. If the UK wants to continue developing into a key industry leader, it must look into a controlled framework for medical cannabis access. Access must be expanded to get medical cannabis properly off its feet and see long term development.”

Many more details are available to review in Volteface’s report, which is viewable here.



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Cannabis Compounds Prevented Covid Infection in Recent Laboratory Study

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The two cannabis compounds commonly found in hemp — called cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA — were identified during a chemical screening effort as having potential to combat coronavirus, researchers from Oregon State University said. In the study, they bound to spike proteins found on the virus and blocked a step the pathogen uses to infect people.

The researchers tested the compounds’ effect against alpha and beta variants of the virus in a laboratory. The study didn’t involve giving the supplements to people or comparing infection rates in those who use the compounds to those who don’t.

Hemp is a source of fiber, food and animal feed, and extracts are commonly added to cosmetics, body lotions, dietary supplements and food.

“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” said Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2,” he said in a statement.

Source: Boomberg

Image: Unsplashed

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Brand Spotlight: Moon Made Farms

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“I’ve always been somebody who was a minority among minorities, being marginalized and also being attracted to marginalized subcultures. Rock ‘n’ roll is where I found my family, and in cannabis, I found another family.” Inspired by the “female expression of the most powerful plant on Earth,” her words, Tina Gordon of Moon Made Farms carved out a cannabis brand, and a name for herself, in Humboldt County, California. But it hasn’t always been this way.

“I was living in San Francisco for most of my adult life, and during that time, I was living a very underground lifestyle with art, music and playing in bands, releasing records, van touring, that kind of thing, for about 20 years,” Gordon said. “I was in a bunch of different punk and metal bands; I did a mobile soundstage, that kind of thing. And I used to do art shows, photography, video. I really dedicated myself to having a full, creative life, to live lean, and to live life to the fullest.”

However, after two decades living that lifestyle, things began to transition. After going through a band break-up and a career shift, she was looking for where to go next. Suddenly, Gordon found herself spending more and more time in Humboldt County instead of the Bay Area, first filming a documentary, then even dating someone in the area and realizing she wanted to spend all of her time there. She also fell in love with growing the cannabis plant, something she never would have tried in her previous life.

“Moon Made Farms acknowledges the feminine in this plant, the moon being a symbol of femininity. The moon has a regular schedule with subtle changes every, single night. So, sun-grown isn’t just about the sun; it’s about the moon and the night cycle as well.”

“I didn’t even have houseplants in San Francisco,” she admitted. “I was really urban. And then when I went through my first season in Humboldt, and I saw this plant grow from seed to full expression, I was completely captivated, and it shifted my awareness to the natural world and how incredible it is. The sensory experience of growing this plant changed my life.”

As she began listening to the earth and the plants she was growing, she started to realize how sacred the relationship between cannabis and grower truly is. Seeing how cannabis thrives when given rain-caught water, fresh air, full sunlight and all the other natural elements that can be granted through outdoor growing in the Emerald Triangle, Gordon knew she had a new obsession. Now, instead of making music and art, she’s all about growing the juiciest, most gorgeous buds. But she never left the social justice element behind.

Gordon started learning permaculture regenerative techniques and working them into her growing to develop more sustainable practices around producing cannabis. As an advocate for outdoor growing, she is always trying to learn more. And as a social justice advocate, she always tries to pull in queer folks, women and other marginalized people to work on her farm.

Photo Credit: Matthew Brightman

“I’ve always been somebody who was a minority among minorities, being marginalized and also being attracted to marginalized subcultures,” Gordon said. “Rock ‘n’ roll is where I found my family, and in cannabis, I found another family. And when something changes your life as much as cannabis, there is a responsibility to pay it forward, a responsibility to do activism work and social justice work and to help educate people about the true value of this plant.

Through education, she wants to make sure that the focus is on sun-grown and natural cannabis, a personal passion.

“Misconceptions about outdoor-grown flower are based on the industry standard,” she said.

“That started because of prohibition, when all the outdoor farmers were forced inside, so indoor farming became the industry standard. Now that we’re emerging out of prohibition, it just feels like the plant should go back outside. Now, during that time, some incredible advancements have happened. A lot has happened in the way of genetics and techniques around this plant, but I would love to see this plant go back outside, and for there to be extensive research done on the properties and potential of what this plant has to offer.

Photo Credit: Debra Keith

Now, Moon Made Farms is known on the market for producing quality, sungrown, sustainable cannabis that stands out from the rest, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and ethos that Gordon puts into her work. She’s also thrilled that she gets to revisit her musician days and sell merch for her farm, and she loves studying the growth cycle of the plant. As for the moon, to her, it’s a celebration of the feminine within the cannabis plant, the dark within the light.

“Moon Made Farms acknowledges the feminine in this plant, the moon being a symbol of femininity. The moon has a regular schedule with subtle changes every, single night. So, sun-grown isn’t just about the sun; it’s about the moon and the night cycle as well. This is a photosensitive plant. It’s sensitive to light. And that quality of light will affect the plant in every way, so one of the most important things about the plant being grown outside is that exposure to the night sky. And so, Moon Made Farms is acknowledging lunar farming techniques, an ancient way of cultivating all plants, as well as the symbol of the feminine that the moon represents.”

Read this story originally published in High Times July 2021 Issue in our archive.



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Leading political groups and charities call for UK cannabis reform

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The report Regulating Right, Repairing Wrongs: Exploring Equity and Social Justice Initiatives within UK Cannabis Reform, proposes 14 guiding social equity principles that should be integrated in the UK.

The report outlines an evidence-based roadmap to prioritise and protect those most vulnerable to the harms of prohibition in legal recreational markets.

Dr Laura Garius, Policy Lead at Release and one of the paper’s authors, said: “The UK Government’s new drug strategy regurgitated a ‘tough on drugs’ rhetoric, despite the Home Office’s own research concluding that the estimated £1.6 billion spend per year on drug law enforcement is not impacting levels of drug use.

“Change is inevitable – cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the UK and the world, and it is simply too lucrative a market for politicians to ignore. However, we must make sure that cannabis will be regulated right.

“The legal renaissance of cannabis is a vital opportunity to address the harm that cannabis prohibition has caused to Black and Brown communities and to people with lived experience of cannabis policing.

“Social equity models of cannabis reform are already being developed around the world while the UK is left faltering behind. We must be prepared to follow in these footsteps and recognise that cannabis reform is not progressive if the harms continue for some.”

A number of US states, in particular, New York and Massachusetts, have paved the way for a social and racial justice model of cannabis reform.

These 14 principles are designed to ensure that the same people who are locked up by punitive drug policies are not locked out of the legal market.

Some of the main principles include:

  • Decriminalisation must go hand in hand with regulation by removing criminal or civil sanctions for the use or possession of cannabis, regardless of its legal or illegal origin.
  • Tax revenue should be invested in communities that have been over-criminalised, and support harm reduction interventions and wider drug treatment initiatives.
  • The non-commercial domestic cultivation of cannabis should be included in the same way that individuals are currently allowed to brew their own beer.
  • The automatic expungement of past cannabis-related convictions.
  • Schemes must be in place which actively support the integration of people who have been criminalised for cannabis-related activities into the legal industry.
  • Cooperative models for the distribution of cannabis (such as social clubs) should be incorporated into any new regulatory system.

This report is uniquely driven by civil society, and to date, 15 organisations have pledged their support for our principles, including support from the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats for Drug Policy Reform.

Source: Canex

Image: Unsplashed

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