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UK Commission Launched to Review Cannabinoid Policies

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Mar 21, 2022   

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Some of the UK’s leading cannabinoid industry groups have announced a new commission to review the regulations and policies relating to the country’s legal cannabis industry.

Christopher Hodges, an emeritus professor of justice systems at the University of Oxford, will chair the commission. A report is expected by May 2022.

A review of cannabinoids

The UK legalized medical cannabis is late 2018, but, as cannabinoid-based medicines are largely inaccessible through country’s National Health Service (NHS), the sector is limited to a number of private clinics.

The consumer CBD market, on the other hand, is a retail juggernaut. The sector was estimated to have generated £690 million in 2021 alone.

Regulation for these two sectors falls across many government departments, including the Home Office, the Department for Health and Social Care, and the Food Standards Agency.

To see whether this regulation could be better organized or prioritized, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC), the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI), and the First November Group have launched their new commission.

Led by Christopher Hodges, the commission will review both the medical and consumer CBD markets, consult with industry workers, lawyers, and campaigners, and ultimately make policy recommendations. Its principal objective is to create a “greater strategic coherence across Whitehall” to help regulate both cannabinoid sectors.

“The UK has the potential to become a world leader in the field of cannabinoids but to do so it will require more visionary public-private leadership, much more effective public policy stewardship and smarter regulation. This report will pinpoint exactly what is needed to make this prize attainable,” Steve Moore, a founder of the CMC and ACI, said in a statement.

Reacting to the commission’s launch, Jeremy Willcocks, a partner at the Arnold & Porter law firm, said:

“We welcome the review by Professor Hodges of the regulation of the UK’s legal cannabis industry. Such a review is long overdue. The current regulatory regime certainly lacks a coherent strategy. We look forward to participating in the consultation process and to working with Professor Hodges.”


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