A major new report published this week sets out 20 key recommendations aimed at setting the UK on a path to become the global leader in cannabinoid innovation.
From Containment to Nurturing: How the UK can become a world leader in cannabinoid innovation was commissioned by The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis and the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry. It is authored by renowned regulatory thinker Professor Christopher Hodges and will be launched with a speech by George Freeman MP, Minister for Science, Research & Innovation. It draws on wide ranging inputs from leading industry players, academics, patients, consumers and investors.
Hodges argues that the regulatory framework he sets out would achieve three important objectives:
● Global competitive advantage for the UK post-Brexit, helping the country to leverage its historic and economic strengths in a rapidly growing and unprecedented global industry;
● Regulatory best practice giving early mover advantage, helping to pioneer new approaches to regulating a novel industry that other jurisdictions on a similar path can choose to emulate;
● Scientific advances and innovations, with pioneering new treatments, manufacturing methods, and end user product innovations, helping the UK to reinforce its reputation as the home of world-leading inventions and discoveries that improve our environment, our health, and quality of life
The report views the cannabinoid sector through the lens of Outcome-Based Cooperative Regulation, a regulatory philosophy pioneered by Hodges. He argues that for regulations to be effective, they need to be based in trust and collaboration.
Included in the recommendations are calls for GPs to be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis, updates to hemp farming rules, modernisation of the Proceeds of Crime Act and the creation of a national patient registry for all cannabis based medicines prescribed in the UK.
The report urges the Government to establish a ‘stewarding’ authority to govern and guide the sector and implement the required reforms.
Professor Hodges commented: “The analysis in this report and the principles we have outlined lead us to recommend a series of policy changes to help bring about the positive and shared goals that we articulate. The recommendations are directed both at regulators and industry, with the understanding that both parties have an obligation to cooperate to steward this new industry and support it to develop in an innovative but also safe and responsible way.”
“It is no longer wise or sustainable for the government to continue to take a distanced, disinterested or laissez faire attitude to the sector as a whole, as it has done since the cannabis sector’s inception”
Dr Parveen Bhatarah, chief scientific officer, Centre for Medicinal Cannabis/Association for the Cannabinoid Industry, said: “It is no longer wise or sustainable for the government to continue to take a distanced, disinterested or laissez faire attitude to the sector as a whole, as it has done since the cannabis sector’s inception. The seeds are there for rapid growth but it cannot happen without a clear strategy built upon coordinated Government stewardship and the ambition to not just tolerate, but actively nurture the sector to expand and mature, so it attracts more investment, jobs and innovations, and secures political support and public recognition.”