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Calls for trial of London cannabis legalisation as early as 2022

A new report has been published by the London Cannabis Legalisation Commission

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A new report published by the London Cannabis Legalisation Commission calls for a trial of legal cannabis in London to begin as early as 2022.

The London Cannabis Legalisation Commission’s, London Cannabis Study published on Monday 27 September, says there is room for complacency when it comes to the potential for a new medical cannabis industry in London.

Read more about the call for London legalisation in our exclusive interview with commission chair Hamish Stewart

The report includes 20 recommendations for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly on how to create model cannabis regulations that would enable the city’s councils to launch legal cannabis production and retail pilot programmes.

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The report draws on international best practice to identify key steps for London to lead the country with retail cannabis pilot programmes and the start of a local craft cannabis production system, leapfrogging the UK’s “outdated” legal regime.

Legal cannabis production and retail pilots would help to catch the city up with jurisdictions around the world who have legal markets, says the report.

The public study launch will include an international expert roundtable on 30 September, highlighting lessons from cities including Oakland, CA, Vancouver, Canada, and Atlanta, GA, and other jurisdictions including Jamaica and the US state of Colorado which have all proceeded with legal retail cannabis markets and local production.

The London Cannabis Legalisation Commission, chaired by Southwark resident Hamish Stewart, drew upon on the shared expertise of a network of international cannabis business leaders, research and policy experts to provide a synthesis of global best practice, to guide the Mayor of London, the Metropolitan Police, and London councils on how to make legalisation a success.

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London recommendations

In a statement, Hamish Stewart, chair of the London Cannabis Legalisation Commission commented: “Cannabis is a global industry, expected to be worth over £200 billion by 2030. Londoners need to be able to participate in this growth sector in a legal way, across production, retail, tourism, medical research and pharmaceutical product development.

“Around 15,000 Londoners, mostly young black men, are arrested each year on cannabis possession and supply charges. That is an utter waste of police time and resources and blights the lives of our young people. It is time for London to catch up with other jurisdictions to legalise cannabis and celebrate young entrepreneurs, provide the training and support necessary to grow a truly world-class craft cannabis industry for London.”

Stewart continued: “The Mayor needs to get serious about legalising cannabis here so that Londoners can access an incredible set of new business and employment opportunities ranging from hydroponic production to advanced medical research and product development.

“The UK is among the world’s largest growers of medical grade cannabis. Londoners should be able to participate fully in this burgeoning market. The London Cannabis Study provides 20 simple recommendations on how the Mayor could open up new opportunities for Londoners in a legal cannabis ecosystem.

“There is no time to waste and we hope to see local cannabis production and retail programmes launch this year, creating new jobs and business opportunities for Londoners. The illicit trade in cannabis fuels youth violence and a legal market would help to address this pressing challenge.”

The report outlines recommendations, such as the enabling of safe cannabis production and manufacturing with a licensing regime and also suggests building racial and gender equity considerations into the London cannabis market design, while regulating all cannabis product types.

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The report stressed that clarity of communication is key so that London retailers, restaurants and hotels will be able to offer high-quality, locally made cannabis products to consumers. Cannabis and edibles will need to have their potency managed with a clear traffic light label system that consumers can follow.

London: The front page of the report on legal cannabis for London

Gender and racial equity

The report stressed that there needs to be consideration for disadvantaged Londoners who have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition. As well as guaranteeing the inclusion of diverse groups in the industry, there should also be a reinvestment of annual revenue into spending for councils on education, community and youth services.

It stated: “The Mayor and London councils should engage in substantial outreach and provide business funding for economically disadvantaged Londoners and those communities who have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition. The Mayor should plan to report annually on the financial performance of the industry, highlighting the inclusion of diverse groups in the lawful cannabis industry, including in the ownership matrix for a growing industry.”

Speaking in the report, Jeremy Jacob, past president of the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers highlighted:

“The cannabis plant has historically been in the domain of people of colour, and was then used as a tool of oppression against people of colour, enabling mass incarceration of mostly young black men in the US and other jurisdictions. London has an opportunity to create a regulatory framework that both addresses historical injustices and opens up an incredible set of new business opportunities that all Londoners should be able to access.”

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Canna-clubs

The London system could also take inspiration from the success of Spanish and Canadian cannabis clubs. This would allow licensed cannabis social clubs, venues and community-led indoor and outdoor grow operations to flourish. It would give local communities a chance to grow alongside larger retail suppliers while creating jobs and development for different areas of London.

Alongside the regulations, the group are calling for penalties for illicit cannabis production or retail to prevent harm to others. They suggest these could be civil or administrative in nature but should only resort to criminal sanctions where there is potential for serious harm.

It is suggested in the report that supply for the London market should come via London-based producers as well as international importers. This included supplies from Jamaica, Canada, Malawi, Uganda, and other emerging and established international producers.

London: Rows of cannabis plants in a warehouse

Starting legal for London

The group suggests an ambitious timeline for action which could see a London trial begin as early as September 2022, following the publication of the report. This would be subjected to the Mayor of London establishing a London Cannabis Regulatory Authority to oversee the recommendations.

It suggests that a review of the trial could be undertaken in 2023.

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Industry

Rapper Lil’ Kim announces new cannabis brand ‘aphrodisiac’

The New York rapper becomes the latest celebrity to launch their own cannabis collection which is due in 2022.

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Image: Instagram/lilkimthequeenbee

The singer has announced the launch of her own cannabis brand, Aphrodisiac which is being produced in partnership with Superbad inc.

Lil Kim’s new products will be available across California in 2022, although there is no official launch date announced.

The brand is being produced in collaboration with the innovative cannabis brand, Superbad inc. Superbad was established in 2020 combining cutting edge technology and sleek design for cannabis consumers. They currently have seven acres of indoor grow and a “state-of-the-art facility” employing over 200 people.

Kimberly Denise Jones who goes by her stage name, Lil’ Kim has been working on the brand for two years. She has also partnered with the brand CampNova, which offer vertically integrated marketing and a distribution platform.

The rapper wants the cannabis line to reflect her personal style and says she has personally tested her own products. The collection is tailored to Lil’ Kim’s own preference in genetics and strains.

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Lil’ Kim collection

There are plans to expand the range to other legal states such as Michigan, New Jersey and New York. Originally from New York, Lil’ Kim hopes to be able to release the collection in her home state.

In an interview with Forbes magazine, she said: “I’ve actually been working on this for about two and a half to three years. This is something that didn’t just come overnight. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Lil’ Kim is the latest celebrity to enter the cannabis space with her own collection. Earlier this year, Justin Bieber announced he would be releasing a collection of pre-rolls called Peaches with premium brand Palms. The products are currently available in California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Florida.

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In a press release, he stated: “I’m a fan of Palms and what they are doing by making cannabis approachable and helping to destigmatise it — especially for the many people who find it helpful for their mental health.”

 

Image rights: Lil’ Kim

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Always Pure Organics: A day in the life with Chikako Yoshida

Regional Director of Asia, Chikako Yoshida, gives us a glimpse of her typical workday and discusses working in cannabis.

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Always Pure Organics: A man and a woman working on a laptop.

Chikako Yoshida, regional director of Asia for Always Pure Organics shares her experience of working in the cannabis industry.

Always Pure Organics is excited to give you a glimpse behind the curtain once again.

Join us for our latest episode of a Day in the Life, in which regional director of Asia, Chikako Yoshida discusses her experience working for Always Pure Organics and in the cannabis industry.

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In this episode, we follow our Regional Director of Asia, Chikako Yoshida, as she takes us through her typical workday. Having previously worked in counterterrorism for the United Nations, Chikako joined the APO team in May 2020. Chikako has such an interesting story to tell, we’re honoured to have her on the team as she embodies our mission to cultivate cannabis acceptance and accessibility worldwide. 

Chikako Yoshida said: “Upon learning about the power of cannabis and seeing the high potential growth of Always Pure Organics, I decided to change career from preventing illicit drugs to promoting cannabis to help people in need. I feel that by joining APO, I can help fulfil my life’s mission to support children and their families who fight against illness and sickness by providing them with cannabis products.”

Read more: Always Pure Organics achieves COSMO standard

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Epilepsy

CBGA may be ‘more potent’ than CBD against seizures in Dravet syndrome

Dr Lyndsey Anderson said there is more to explore when it comes to creating more treatment options for Dravet syndrome.

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Seizure: A row of test tubes containing CBGA oil with a doctors white gloved hand holding one up to the light

Scientists say they have found the ‘Mother of all cannabinoids’ which may help to reduce seizures in Dravet syndrome.

A new study on mice from the University of Sydney found that three acidic cannabinoids found in cannabis reduced seizures in Dravet syndrome, an intractable form of childhood epilepsy.

The three cannabinoids are cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA). All three but CBGA in particular “may contribute to the effects of cannabis-based products in childhood epilepsy” noted the researchers and were found to potentially have ‘anticonvulsant properties.”

The study marks the first time that three acidic cannabinoids were found to potentially help reduce seizures for Dravet syndrome.

Speaking with Cannabis Health News, the lead author of the study, Dr Lyndsey Anderson, said: “We found that CBGA exhibited both anticonvulsant and pro-convulsant effects. CBGA was more potent than CBD against febrile seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome. We also found that a combination of CBGA and clobazam was more effective than either treatment alone. Additionally, we found that CBGA was anticonvulsant in the maximal electroshock acute seizure model, a model for generalized tonic-clonic seizures.”

She added: “CBGA did, however, present some proconvulsant effects. The frequency of spontaneous seizures in the mouse model of Dravet syndrome was increased with a high dose of CBGA. Also, CBGA was proconvulsant in the 6-Hz acute seizure model, a model of focal, psychomotor seizures.”

Although CBGA shows promise, Dr Anderson also stressed that it needs more research before it can replace CBD. She cautioned that Dravet syndrome patients may still need to proceed with caution.

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“Artisanal cannabis-based products are believed to reduce seizures in Dravet syndrome patients,” she said. “As these oils contain rare cannabinoids like CBGA, it is possible CBGA then contributes to the anticonvulsant effects of these artisanal cannabis oils. However, there were proconvulsant effects observed with CBGA, suggesting that Dravet syndrome patients may need to proceed with caution. The proconvulsant liability of CBGA would need to be addressed before it replaced CBD as an anticonvulsant.”

What is CBGA?

Sometimes referred to as ‘the mother of all cannabinoids,’ CBGA is the precursor molecule to many different cannabinioids including CBD and THC. It is thought to help some diseases such as colon cancer, metabolic disease and cardiovascular disease. It is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid much like CBD.

Dr Anderson explains that more research is needed to explain how the three cannabinoids work together.

“We don’t know how they work together yet,” she said. “We found that CBGA, CBDVA and CBGVA were all individually anticonvulsant against thermally induced seizures in the mouse model of Dravet syndrome. We did not investigate whether a combination of these three cannabinoids would result in a greater anticonvulsant effect than either cannabinoid alone. Future work will definitely explore this possibility.”  

CBGA future research

This isn’t the end of the research into CBGA for Dravet Syndrome. Dr Anderson said there is more to explore when it comes to creating more treatment options for Dravet syndrome.

 

She said: “Next on the horizon for this research is to explore whether the anticonvulsant properties of CBDVA and CBGVA translate to other seizure types including spontaneous seizures in the mouse model of Dravet syndrome. Additionally, we have extensively interrogated the anticonvulsant potential of individual cannabinoids and identified ten with anticonvulsant properties.”

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“We are now interested in investigating what happens when we combine these anticonvulsant properties. It remains an open possibility that greater anticonvulsant effects are achieved when the cannabinoids are administered in combination.”

The study was recently published in the British Journal of Pharmacology (DOI: 10.1111/bph.15661)

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