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UK cannabis bodies urge PM candidates to reform restrictive EU policy

Home » UK cannabis bodies urge PM candidates to reform restrictive EU policy

In an open letter, UK cannabis bodies have urged MPs Elisabeth Truss and Rishi Sunak to reform “bureaucratic and outdated rules” that are hampering the development of the country’s cannabis industry.

Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, Liz truss, has promised to scrap remaining EU laws by 2023 if elected as leader of the Conservative party. In particular, Truss has said she will be scrapping EU policies that hinder the UK’s economic growth.

Second in the running for Conservative party leader, MP Rishi Sunak, has also pledged to scrap post-Brexit EU laws.

In the open letter to the MPs, the Cannabis Industry Council, Cannabis Trades Association, British Hemp Alliance and the Scottish Hemp Association highlight that the UK has a leading position in the global cannabis industry, but that this is risked by EU policy that hinders it. 

Read more: Future proofing the UK cannabis industry

The letter identifies two areas of policy that the bodies view as being held back by current EU regulations. The first is the Novel Foods process, which the bodies say hinders competition and stifles SMEs from entering the UK cannabis market. 

The second is the UK’s use of the EU Plant Variety database to determine which seeds farmers can cultivate industrial cannabis with. The bodies say that non-EU seeds should also be allowed under UK policy to increase choice and competition – a policy that would be a “sign of the potential of a Global Britain.”

Read more: UK cannabis market could be worth over £1bn by 2026

The letter states: “We would urge your commitment to considering reform of these bureaucratic and outdate rules, which are harming a potential dynamic industry in which the UK is currently a world leader.”

Kyle Esplin, chair of the Scottish Hemp Association, commented: “Over the last two years the Scottish Hemp Association has been calling for whole plant hemp extracts to be exempt from Novel Foods regulations. 

“It’s the number one issue hindering industry, future domestic production, and consumer satisfaction. Recently, human trials were completed with five different commercial CBD formulations testing for influence on liver function in a placebo-controlled, randomised, crossover design trial. 

“No evidence of physiologically relevant changes in marker of liver and kidney function where detected in standard nutritional supplement doses. 

“Most consumers are shocked to find out that companies are still being required to test their products on animals, for the sale of a hemp product. Regulators need to take a fresh approach and listen to consumer and industry needs. 

“We welcome this letter being sent with support from across the industry.”

The bodies go on to urge Government officials to spark conversations with UK industry bodies around the reform of policies that would enable GPs to prescribe cannabis to patients, create jobs and create economic growth in the country. 

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