The UK government should become a “leader not a laggard” in the burgeoning medicinal cannabis industry by loosening its regulations, according to a leading producer.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid legalized marijuana for medical purposes in October 2018 after vociferous campaigning from parents of sick children denied access to cannabis. Yet NHS guidelines, which were created by the Royal College of Physicians and The British Paediatric Neurology Association, are so strict that doctors cannot actually prescribe it.
Aurora Cannabis said it is “making progress” in discussions with the British government, which shunned the industry until late last year. Chief corporate officer Cam Battley argued that there is no point in creating a medical cannabis system that patients cannot use and urged the Conservative government to overhaul the prescription guidelines.
“It’s time for the UK to take this system that is not working and make it work,” he said in an address at the annual Cannabis Europa conference in London. “Let’s make sure that general practitioners can prescribe. There’s no need for requiring a specialist consultant to write a prescription.”
Another speaker, Cannamedical chief executive David Henn, backed up Battley’s points and also warned of the damaging effect a no-deal Brexit could have upon the UK’s ability to import marijuana. He implored the country to align itself with EU GMP rules if and when it does exit the bloc.
Britain is now supposed to leave the EU on Oct. 31 after Theresa May agreed to a delay with European leaders. She has now been ousted and a Tory leadership battle is underway.
The race has been whittled down to two frontrunners and Boris Johnson is the clear favourite to vanquish rival Jeremy Hunt in the final vote, which takes place among 150,000 members of the Conservative Party on July 22.
Parliament has emphatically rejected the divorce deal May agreed to with the EU, so the onus will then be on the new leader to negotiate a different deal that MPs can get behind. The alternatives include leaving without a deal – which could spark chaos at the borders and batter the British economy – or performing a U-turn and staying in the bloc.
Cannabis regulations are not the most pressing concern for the Tories, but Javid has now been eliminated from the leadership race, as has Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and they should have time to mull over pleas from the industry.
One breakthrough has seen Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) today announce it has imported medical cannabis oral solutions in bulk into the UK from its GMP-certified facility in Canada after some barriers were lifted.