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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



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with retail cannabis pilot programmes and the start of a local craft cannabis production system, leapfrogging the UK’s “outdated” legal regime.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.

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.

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.”


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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New fully digital cannabis dispensary launches in UK

It aims to streamline the process through which  cannabis patients can access their medicine.



New fully digital cannabis dispensary launches in UK

A new fully digital medical cannabis pharmacy aims to improve the dispensing experience for UK patients.

A new digital dispensing solution has launched in the UK, with the aim of streamlining the process through which cannabis patients can access their medicine.

Through the new system, patients are able to schedule delivery to their home or office, with a 120-minute delivery service in London and Birmingham and next-day delivery across the UK.

Akanda subsidiary, CanMart, has partnered with digital pharmacy infrastructure Phlo Connect and Cellen Life Sciences to bring the project to life.

The process will be increasingly seamless for patients in the near future as Phlo Connect, Cellen and CanMart build additional digital interconnections, Akanda said.

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Tej Virk, CEO of Akanda, said: “Akanda is committed to expanding access to high-quality products for anyone in need, and that is qualified in the United Kingdom, a growing market for medical cannabis.

“Phlo Connect and Cellen are the ideal partners to make this happen, combining the UK’s first fully digital pharmacy with a digital dispensing model that is easy to use, secure, and real-time.

“In the nascent UK medical cannabis market, patients currently suffer from excess friction as the prescription process, and last-mile delivery is disjointed.

“We firmly believe that our solution is the best way to satisfy patients and get our 1P and 3P-supplied medical cannabis in their hands quickly and conveniently, which will greatly improve the patient experience.”

New fully digital cannabis dispensary launches in UK

The partnership with Phlo Connect builds on CanMart’s existing partnership with Cellen, a health tech company that provides treatment to chronic pain patients through Leva Clinic, as well as through partners including the NHS, and Boots UK.

The Leva Clinic, which is licensed and regulated by the Care Quality Commission, is one of the first fully digital pain clinics in the UK.

Cellen is also a medical cannabis supplier to Project Twenty21, the large-scale medical cannabis observational study monitored by Drug Science that aims to improve access to medical cannabis.

Adam Hunter, CCO of Phlo Connect commented: “We believe partnering with CanMart and Cellen will be a game-changer for medicinal cannabis patients here in the UK.

“By integrating with both CanMart and Cellen via our API-driven pharmacy platform, we believe that this partnership is the first truly end-to-end digital experience for medicinal cannabis patients in the UK.”

He added: “Our patients require access to new high-quality products without the friction and hassle of traditional dispensing services. This partnership is another example of our continuing efforts to build on our national, established relationships with the wider pharmaceutical community in innovative ways.

“We believe that CanMart’s access to high quality products as well as Phlo Connect’s extensive capabilities in dispensing will go a long way to helping our service to our patients.”

Home » Industry » Calls for trial of London cannabis legalisation as early as 2022

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CiiTECH celebrates five years with five days of CBD offers

CiiTECH’s five-year birthday is a pivotal moment, the company said.




Cannabis healthcare company CiiTECH celebrates its fifth birthday and reflects on a turbulent half-decade for the CBD industry.

CiiTECH’s five-year birthday is a pivotal moment, the company said. After what has been one of the most turbulent times for the industry, the firm has achieved six months of stability. With new crypto projects on the horizon and new markets on the cards, the company is gearing up for a period of growth.

CBD is a tough industry to be in right now but that has never stopped CiiTECH CEO and founder, Clifton Flack, from driving the business through regulatory issues and the challenges of an increasingly saturated market.

“When we started the business in 2017 the market was approaching the peak of interest and excitement. Since then, alongside the hundreds of brands that have been born to compete with us, we’ve also faced monumental regulatory pressures and flip-flopping,” Flack said.

“We’re still here though, independent and with a bright future ahead as the coming year ahead brings settled regulations.”

After a stormy start to the year, the FSA delivered on their promise to roll out a framework by which products can be set on a supervised pathway to novel food authorisation. The market is now more difficult than ever to penetrate for new and emerging brands, however it gives established UK CBD companies like CiiTECH an advantage over international companies attempting to penetrate the UK market.

“In parallel, the industry and our peers have had a two year pandemic, Brexit supply chain disruptions and now a cost of living crisis set to put all previous volatilities to shame,” Flack added.

“Now more than ever, cannabis healthcare companies need to take our time, avoid the panic and focus on delivering quality products behind trusted brands that are built for the long term.”

Recently, CiiTECH investigated a stock market listing on the London Stock Exchange but the IPO did not come to fruition.

“As the CEO, I had to make an impossible decision,” Flack said.

“Amongst other things, the timing was just not right. Consumer sentiment and demands are volatile and we found the essence of our company getting lost in bureaucracy at a time when it should have been front of mind.

Yesterday, CiiTECH launched five promotions over five days to celebrate the anniversary of the company.

“As a revenue-driven business, CiiTECH would not be in the position it is today without its army of loyal Provacan customers, so we’re giving back to them the best way we know-how.

“With five days’ worth of promos and freebies to mark five years of success. Our Friday promo emails have become somewhat legendary among our customers but we have never done anything like this before.”

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GPs should prescribe medical cannabis, says industry review

A new review has recommended the roll out of a national trial, permitting GPs to prescribe medical cannabis.



GPs should prescribe medical cannabis, says industry review
Polling showed strong support for allowing all doctors to prescribe cannabis as a treatment. 

A new UK report has recommended the roll out of a national trial permitting GPs to prescribe medical cannabis.

GPs should be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis in the UK, according to a new review published on Monday 27 June.

Industry experts have recommended the roll-out of a national trial, which would see GPs permitted to prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products, alongside specialist consultants. 

The recommendation was published as part of the Hodges Review, commissioned by The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) and the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI).

The report, which aims to set out how the UK can be a world-leader in cannabinoid innovation, is set to be launched today (27 June) with a speech by MP George Freeman, the minister for science, research and innovation.

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GP prescribing 

In the UK, GPs may prescribe as part of a ‘Shared Care’ agreement, under the direction of a doctor on the specialist register, but they are not permitted to initiate treatment themselves.

According to polling data, collected for the review from 1,500 individuals across the UK, between the 9-13th June, 2022, there was strong support for allowing all doctors, not just specialists, to prescribe cannabis as a treatment. 

Two-thirds of respondents (65 per cent) believe GPs should be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis and more than a third said they would trust their GP to prescribe it to them.

Among 20 recommendations made by the report, the authors suggest an “opt-in model” which would give GPs the option to consent to prescribing cannabis-based medicines and participating in data collection to help inform future guidelines.

In more than 50 countries worldwide where medical cannabis has been made legal GPs make up the majority of prescribers. 

A survey of over 1,000 GPs, published last year by the Primary Care Cannabis Network, found that there was a willingness from UK doctors to prescribe too. 

Almost a quarter (24 percent) said they would be willing to take on the role of prescribing and overseeing medical cannabis treatments and just under three quarters (73 per cent) were open-minded about having a more active role in the field.

Read more: How GPs could open up access to medical cannabis

Quoted in the Hodges Review, Hazel Neavyn-Neita, medical information lead, Althea Life UK and Ireland said: “The cost of supplying product to the UK is roughly 3.2 times higher than supplying product to Australia.

“Allowing GPs to prescribe and widening patient access may increase sales. It would also reduce the costs of consultations for private patients since they could see a GP rather than a specialist consultant. If volumes increase, companies will be able to reduce the cost of manufacture and shipping which will reduce the cost to the patient.” 

Deepak Anand, principal of ASDA Consultancy Services, added: “By not allowing all GPs to prescribe, we’re effectively putting people into the black market, because people are going to try to access this whichever way they can… That is a serious and abject policy failure from a public health perspective by the government. Once we start to see GPs prescribing, you will see a real opening up of the industry in the UK.”

The report also highlighted the need to “take forward commitments” for coordinated data collection, suggesting that GP prescriptions could involve patient enrolment in a national registry to help gather real-world evidence.

Further recommendations include consulting with patient groups and police forces to introduce Home Office guidance for frontline officers to verify patients who have a valid prescription, and creating a single formulary of all available products in the UK to support doctors in prescribing with up-to-date information.

Attitudes towards medical cannabis 

Among those polled, there was broad support for cannabis as a medical treatment.

One in five respondents said they personally know someone whose health has benefited from medicinal cannabis and 63 per cent would be supportive if a family member was taking it to address a health condition.

Only eight per cent said they would be “somewhat” or “very” opposed to it and almost one in seven people admitted that they have used cannabis for “health reasons” themselves. 

Of those who had used cannabis for medicinal reasons (whether prescribed by a doctor or not), 90 per cent experienced positive benefits, including a fifth whose symptoms were “completely resolved”. 

There was also recognition of a need to make cannabis medicines more accessible for patients in the UK, with 59 per cent of those polled believing that the government should help lower the cost of cannabis supplied by private clinics so more people can afford it.

A large majority (64 per cent) of respondents believe the government should do more to support scientific research into cannabis in the UK.

CBD vs Medical cannabis

Although public awareness of medicinal cannabis was lower than of CBD, the report found evidence to suggest that public levels of trust are generally higher. 

When asked about CBD products, the most concerning thing for 43 per cent of respondents was if the product was synthetic and not from natural ingredients, or if the product was not tested for purity. 

Those hesitant to try CBD said they would be most likely to try a product if there was more public information about CBD and how to take it and if the government made it clear that CBD was legal.

The report also claims that where young people are more open to the use of CBD, older people are more likely to report positive views towards medicinal cannabis.

By contrast, young people were more likely to think that medicinal cannabis is “not a serious clinical treatment”.

A total of 59 per cent of respondents believe that in 10 years time the medical benefits of cannabis would be more widespread and accepted.

You can download the full report here

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