19th May 2021
By Roland Sebestyén
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Even the coronavirus pandemic couldn’t stop the UK cannabis market to keep growing as a new report claims that the UK has the world’s second largest CBD market behind the US.

A report co-written and published by Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) and Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) called Green Shoots – Sowing The Seeds Of The New UK Cannabinoid Market has found that demand for CBD soared during lockdowns in the country and the market is now estimated to be worth £690 million.

According to the researchers, it is a massive climb compared to 2020 when the sector was worth just below £400 million – in 2019 the sector was valued at around £300 million.

Paul Birch, Co-Founder of the CMC and ACI, said it is now impossible to ignore the size of the UK medical cannabis sector.

He said: “Today’s report reveals that sales of CBD products for 2021 are valued at £690m, almost a third higher than our last projection in 2019.

“Almost without notice and certainly by accident rather than design, the UK has improbably become the world’s second largest consumer cannabinoids market.”

However, the report found a few major barriers that are depressing the economic potential of the cannabinoids sector in the UK.

Among them is the fact that the sector is still massively unregulated and “reliant on imported finished products.”

Also, the UK has outdated laws which means that British businesses cannot supply into the larger domestic consumer market thus letting all those foreign – North American and European – companies get a bigger share of the market.

Not to mention the fact that while medical cannabis has been legal in the UK since 2018, only a few can get access to the sometimes live-saving medicine as GPs can’t prescribe CBMP (Cannabis Based Medical Products).

As a result, the authors call for:

GPs are still unable to prescribe medical cannabis to patients.

  • A dedicated agency to licence and oversee the industry
  • A new centre of excellence to fund, synthesise and promulgate the best new clinical evidence to boost the UK’s nascent medicinal cannabis market
  • Urgent reform of licensing policy to steer and harness the emerging scientific evidence across the whole spectrum: from agri-science and plant genetics to novel synthetics, new therapies and clinical trials.

Steve Moore, Co-Founder and Strategic Counsel to the CMC and ACI, said: “With new government support the accidental consumer cannabis revolution that has allowed CBD to become available on every high street in the UK could become permanent, nurturing hundreds of new businesses, thousands of jobs and billions of pounds in exports.

“It’s hard to imagine there are many more industries that could benefit almost immediately from the proposals set out in our report.”

This ground-breaking report is available here by clicking on this link.

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