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Hilltop Leaf ‘Officially Commences Trading In The UK’ Amid New Partnership With Little Green Pharma

SCOTLAND-based medical cannabis cultivation and extraction business Hilltop Leaf has announced a new supply deal with Australian medical cannabis firm Little Green Pharma (LGP), Business of Cannabis can reveal.

The development is a major step forward for the company, which was recently at the centre of the UK’s first parliamentary debate on medical cannabis in the UK, meaning that it has ‘officially commenced trading in the UK’.

It comes just months after Hilltop secured £2m in private investment, enabling it to scale its operations and accelerate its path to revenue generation in the UK.

With a licence to ‘import, store and supply finished CBPMs in the UK’ and a recently completed 11,000 square metre cultivation and production facility, the company is poised to become one of the new wave of UK cannabis companies driving to replace the country’s reliance on medical cannabis imports with domestic supply.

New supply deal

Hilltop has signed a new two-year supply agreement with LGP, which will see it begin importing finished products from the latter’s facilities in Denmark to the UK.

It will now begin distributing LGP’s imported flower to a ‘UK-based pharmacy and clinic partner whom we’re working with’.

According to the company, LGP’s products are one of its ‘early portfolio releases’, and will eventually form part of a much wider-ranging product offering from the company.

While the company’s ultimate goal is to become one of the few UK-based companies to ‘deliver medicines and support to UK patients and help reduce the country’s reliance on imports’, this distribution operation will crucially enable the company to begin trading in the UK for the first time since its inception in 2019.

“Such imported products will complement our own produced product when online and help us work towards a reliable supply chain, meeting growing patients’ needs in the UK.

“Our respective Quality Management teams have worked tirelessly, including onsite audits, to get this agreement over the line. This announcement is the start of a new chapter as HTL has officially commenced trading in the UK.”

Regulatory burden

Hilltop was recently thrust into the spotlight after Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale David Mundell used it as a focal point for his case to ease the bureaucratic hurdles preventing industry growth in the UK.

Mr Mundell referenced the ‘investment by Hilltop Leaf’, which operates within his constituency, as proof that ‘medical cannabis can have a transformational impact on local communities’.

However, he argued that the ‘over-onerous process for being licensed in the first instance has given me cause to worry about the development in my constituency stalling’.

While Mr Clegg said Hilltop was ‘lucky to have been mentioned’, he said MPs’ suggestions that licensing was the company’s and industry’s biggest frustration may not have been ‘entirely accurate’.

“Our frustration is not licensing, but time delays to achieve these by the overburden put on these crucial government departments by underqualified applicants,” he explained.

Business of Cannabis understands that Hilltop Leaf is now GMP accredited, and holds an MHRA MS and an MHRA WD enabling it to import products globally and to distribute them to licensed pharmacies. .

“In my view the biggest problem facing the UK is consistency of supply, and one of the reasons consistency of supply is so tough is because import regulations are high. We have heard this first hand at the United Patients Forum in Brighton.”

This, he says, is exactly why Hilltop is working to produce domestic cannabis to a standard enabling the UK to no longer rely entirely on imports.

Furthermore, regarding the government’s rebuff that until more cannabis randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are conducted there is little hope of integrating treatments in the NHS, Mr Clegg argued the main issue was funding.

“There is potential to do a clinical trial with consenting adults without life-threatening diseases; it’s just there isn’t the funding there yet.”

These issues subsequently place the industry in a ‘catch 22’ situation, where institutional investors and the health service are reluctant to put their money into cannabis businesses until more clinical trials are conducted, but more clinical trials cannot take place until funding is brought in.

As a potential solution to this issue, Mr Clegg suggests that putting environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives at the forefront of the industry is key.

In line with the arguments levelled by Mr Mundell regarding the cannabis industry’s ability to invigorate local jobs, investment and infrastructure, he explained: “Ultimately, we’re trying to embrace ESG, which gives us greater staff and greater community engagement.

“And finally, when it comes to raising capital, investors are increasingly looking for companies that are working to an ESG agenda. Hilltop hopes to have a positive impact on our communities as well as on the wider health economy.”

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