Expanding the prescription cannabis market will lead to improved outcomes for ethnic minorities, women, and the LGBT community, according to a new report from the Cannabis Industry Council (CIC).
The report, entitled ‘ESG Benefits of an Expanded Medicinal Cannabis Market’, highlights how the current situation results in many potential patients either not seeking a prescription due to stigma, or instead accessing the illicit market – both of which bring about direct risks and harms.
Instead, by increasing affordable access to prescription cannabis, this will reduce the unfair number of ethnic minorities arrested for possession, as well as enabling women, the LGBT community, and those with disabilities have the confidence to access the medicine they need.
Report author, Hamish Clegg, Co-Chair of the CIC ESG Working Group said:
“A compassionate approach to medical cannabis prescribing has the potential to make society fairer, by improving health outcomes and bringing more people back into work.
“Through the CIC’s Protect our Patients campaign, we are calling on GPs to be able to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients, which will play a major role in reducing stigma in society.”
There are also a range of environmental benefits to expanding the legal cannabis market, due to lower energy consumption, reduced pesticide use, and less fly-tipping of waste.
Additionally, it will bring improved governance outcomes – such as increased tax revenues, as well as greater compliance with health and safety, equalities, and modern slavery legislation.
Report author, Sam Cannon, Co-Chair of the CIC ESG Working Group, commented:
“The societal and environmental harms caused by organised criminals illegally growing and selling cannabis are hard to overstate.
“Expanding the legal market through improved access has the potential to drive down organised crime, and all the associated harms such as human trafficking and environmental damage.”
The report notes that in the current system, minority groups are more likely to face police stop-and-search, and to receive custodial sentences for drug possession. Furthermore, minorities are also under-represented in clinical trials, resulting in potential health risks down the line.
Additionally, according to the Department for Work & Pensions, in August 2022, there were over 11 million claims for disability benefits. Research from Drug Science has shown that prescription cannabis improves quality of life, and therefore helps enable people to return to the jobs market.
The Cannabis Industry Council’s Protect our Patients campaign is calling for GPs to be able to initiate medical cannabis prescriptions to their patients, in the same manner as specialist doctors.
The ESG Benefits of an Expanded Medicinal Cannabis Market report can be viewed here – https://www.cicouncil.org.uk/resources/esg-benefits-of-an-expanded-medicinal-cannabis-market