NewsA Thriving Legal UK Cannabis Industry Has The Potential...

A Thriving Legal UK Cannabis Industry Has The Potential To Create 100,000 Jobs


AS supporters of a UK Cannabis Industry Council meet for the first time today new policy proposals show a thriving sector could create almost 100,000 new UK jobs.

The paper entitled ‘UK Medical cannabis & CBD Market – Ten Recommendations for Government’ maps out ways to turbo-charge the industry.

Drafted by Prof Mike Barnes, of Maple Tree Consultants, and Mackrell Solicitors, with input from a number of industry groups its has been sent to all 650 members of Parliament.

Prof Mike Barnes, of Maple Tree Consultants and Mackrell Solicitors.

Report author Prof Barnes, one of the key drivers of the Cannabis Industry Council (CIC), said it was pressing for talks with senior members of the Government to take it forward.

Over 100,000 Patients

This follows the submission of similar policy proposals to Prime Minister Boris Johnson from a Government innovation taskforce headed by former Conservative party leader Sir Ian Duncan-Smith, as reported earlier by BusinessCann.

And, further calls for new measures to remove the punitive restrictions on UK hemp farmers from Volteface (see below).

Prof Barnes told BusinessCann: “We hope the Government listens to our recommendations and takes action. It is necessary to support the hundreds of thousands of patients that may benefit, as well as the need – especially post-Covid – to create jobs and income for the country.”

Using the Florida medical cannabis market as a template the report highlights how similar UK developments could create over 97,000 jobs – four times the number employed in the UK fishing industry.

“As we come out of the pandemic – and the potential loss of thousands of jobs as Government support is withdrawn – the cannabis industry is exactly what is needed in the face of an unemployment crisis,” added Prof Barnes.

The key recommendations of the report include:

  • Allow for the cultivation of hemp flowers in order to extract CBD
  • Increase the THC limit for approved hemp seeds from 0.2% to 1%
  • Review the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 to allow CBD suppliers to make justifiable wellness claims
  • Exclude whole plant hemp extracts from Novel Food regulations
  • Review the NICE prescribing guidelines to allow GPs to prescribe cannabis medicines and review the way medical cannabis and hemp flowers are value-rated by the medical establishment.

Office For Medicinal Cannabis

The report highlights how the sector could be worth several billion pounds and also calls for an ‘Office for Medicinal Cannabis’ – as in countries, such as the Netherlands.

Cannabis regulation is currently spread across the Home Office, the Department for Health and Social Care, Ministry of Justice, the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and Food Standards Agency.

Kyle Esplin, Chairman of the Scottish Hemp Association, said: “This is a milestone and exactly what the industry needs, sensible recommendations that are welcomed by both industry and consumer. We are delighted to see such strong cross-party support that whole plant extracts should be exempt from novel foods regulations. 

“We have consistently argued for the the farming hemp seed limit to be raised to 1% THC, and the removal of the need for growing licences for industrial use, and the removal of all 0.2% hemp extracts from controlled drugs regulation.

“This paper reflects this, it speaks for the industry and resonates with the consumers.”

The US cannabis industry supports over 320,000 jobs, according to a new report published earlier this year

Supporters of the report include: 

All Party Parliamentary Group For Drug Reform, British Hemp Alliance, Cancard, Cannabis Trades Association, Cannapro, Clear, Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, Drug Science, Labour Campaign For Drugs Reform, Mackrell Solicitors, Medcann, Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, Northern Ireland Hemp Association, Plea, Prohibition Partners, Scottish Hemp Association

For more on the Cannabis Industry Council which convenes for the first time today see here.


Further pressure is being exerted on the Government in a second new report released this week by third sector drug policy reform organisation Volteface.

Pleasant Lands: The Campaign For UK Hemp’ calls for a UK-version of the Swiss model whereby farmers can grow crops up to 1% THC, and licensing changes which will allow farmers to extract CBD from the whole hemp plant.

It has the support of Crispin Blunt MP, he said: “The UK needs to learn from the US, Switzerland and even closer to home, Jersey, to reap the benefits of domestic full-spectrum production of hemp-derived CBD.

“Our burgeoning cannabinoid industry, when anticipating support by policy based on evidence, was predicted to grow to £1bn by 2025.  That policy post-Brexit is in our gift. If current rules don’t change the only extra people getting high will be our competitors.”

For more on this report see:

Peter McCusker is an experienced news and business editor, who believes it’s time to fully embrace the multiple, proven, medical benefits of the cannabis plant.


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