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First meeting of UK Cannabis Industry Council lays groundwork for “real change”

Stakeholders from across the industry met for the first time at the inaugural meeting of the newly-formed Cannabis Industry Council. 

Members of the Cannabis Industry Council (CIC), which launched officially last month, met in London on Wednesday 7 July to set out how they plan to create a more robust UK sector.

More than 100 major organisations have now joined the body, which aims to set standards and drive meaningful change within the UK’s medical cannabis and CBD space. 

The meeting was one of the industry’s first in-person events to take place since the coronavirus pandemic hit last March.

Representatives from more than half the members travelled to be there as the council’s various subgroups, including Research, Hemp, Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), Standards Parliamentary Lobbying and Media, Marketing & PR set out their agenda for moving forward. 

CIC chair, Prof Mike Barnes (right) with Hemp chair Jamie Bartley and secretary Kate Thorpe

Major focuses for research include building a strong scientific case for the use of medicinal cannabis, through real-world evidence and condition-specific research, as well as economic and health cost-benefit analysis. 

There will also be a drive to see the removal of the current licensing framework around industrial Hemp as a controlled drug and a transition of responsibility from the Home Office to DEFRA. The group will also call for the UK THC limit to be raised for industrial hemp, and an allowance for the whole plant to be utilised. 

The introduction of an Office of Medical Cannabis within the UK Government was highlighted as a key lobbying priority, along with patient access, while discussion took place around the development of a set of standards across the industry and the introduction of a code of conduct for all suppliers, dispensers and advertisers, patients and consumers. 

Professor Mike Barnes, founder and chair of the CIC said it was great to be “up and running” and that the response to the initial meeting indicated there was potential to make “real change” as a collective voice for the sector.

From left: Secretary Kate Thorpe, Research chair Anne Katrin Schalg and Prof Mike Barnes. Photo: Sam Cannon

“It was really exciting to see so many people come along to the first meeting of the CIC,” Prof Barnes commented.

“There was some very promising and exciting proposals and ideas set out by the various subgroups , which illustrates just how important and wide ranging out agenda is in the development of the cannabis sector in the UK and the impact this will have on so many industry stakeholders and so many patients.”

He added: “There was a lot of good interaction and good discussion and it was great to see so many representatives from different parts of the industry coming together in such a way.

“Now that the CIC is up and running, we can begin to work towards our shared goal of creating a robust cannabis sector in the UK.”

Find out more about the CIC

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