The British government has reportedly granted Canopy Growth Corp. (TSE: WEED) the first licence to import medical cannabis in bulk into the UK.
The firm’s pharmaceutical division, Spectrum Therapeutics, told the FT this week that the Home Office has granted it a licence to import cannabis from its facilities in Europe. Canopy has a 430,000 sq. ft. greenhouse in Denmark and the Scandinavian nation permitted bulk exports in January 2019.
Canopy has a distribution centre in Germany and the medical cannabis will be transported there then shipped to the UK, where it has a facility in Buckinghamshire.
The company’s European managing director, Paul Steckler, said the licence would allow it to offer next day deliveries to pharmacies across Britain. Its Buckinghamshire facility can apparently store enough cannabis to supply 5,000 patients per month.
The UK legalized medical cannabis in October 2018, but extremely stringent NHS guidelines have prevented doctors from prescribing it to all but a handful of patients that gained special approval.
There have been petitions that plead with the government to relax the guidelines, while industry leaders from firms like Aurora Cannabis and Cannamedical have urged it to be a leader, rather than a laggard, in the medical cannabis sector. Meanwhile, national newspapers and TV stations continue to run features highlighting the plight of parents forced to pay huge fees to import legal cannabis for their sick children.
The NHS has not yet budged, but the decision to award Canopy this licence could be a sign that the government’s attitude is loosening.
The Home Office has also awarded a grant to a Somerset-based company called Sativa Cultivation and Extraction Ltd – part of medical cannabis and CBD wellness firm Sativa Group plc (LON: SATI) – a licence to grow cannabis for medical tests.
It permits the firm to grow cannabis with a high THC content. It can then launch a research partnership King’s College London to research the impact of cannabinoids on inflammation and respiratory conditions.
King’s College London is also teaming up with Parkinson’s UK for a £1.2 million ($1.5 billion) clinical trial to gauge the potential benefits of CBD.