December 31st will be the end of the transition period of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Regardless of which side you sit on the Brexit fence, and no matter what you think of the negotiations that still remain unfinished, come January 1st the UK will be trading on different terms.
Prior to polling day, many claims were made about the successful opportunities that lay ahead should voters chose to leave the European Union. While many of those promises now look to have been wildly exaggerated, one group of campaigners and business owners thinks 2021 could be a year of prosperity, should the UK back cannabis.
‘New Leaf Opportunity’ is a coalition of various stakeholders in the growing cannabis industry. Led by advocacy group Volteface, the group features key figures from a number of businesses, including medical cannabis company Kanabo, investment group Spinnaker Opportunities, legal firm Ince and cannabis consultancy group Hanway Associates.
New Leaf Opportunity believe that the UK should focus on becoming a leader in the medical cannabis industry, worth an estimated $16.5 billion in 2019. By backing the industry, they believe the UK could benefit from more jobs opportunities, medical innovations and improved access for patients.
The group has been buoyed by news that medical cannabis companies have been given the green light to float on the London Stock Exchange.
Volteface Director Paul North said: “The cannabis industry is ready to attract some much needed revenue into the country. The UK is crying out for emerging industries, jobs and foreign investment – we believe the cannabis industry can deliver all of these in 2021. Opening our doors for investment will improve the market for medical cannabis patients and the emerging wellness market.”
The UK has long been a leader in academia and scientific research, and those working in cannabis R&D believe that money raised through the stock market will further innovations in the cannabinoid industry, improving the variety of products and patient access costs. Allowing medical cannabis companies to list on the LSE is a signal that the UK is ready to open its doors, and the group have highlighted key benefits beyond investment opportunity including job creation, medical innovations and improved access for patients.
News of the LSE accepting cannabis companies could be very timely too for the country. Faced with rising costs from the COVID crisis, the government is desperately scouring the countries business community for emerging opportunities. Opening up the cannabis industry could raise some much needed revenue for the Treasury, as the UK faces a ‘double whammy’ hit of Covid expenses and the potential fall-out from Brexit.
Rob Jappie, Partner at Ince said: “It has been a challenging year for everybody, but 2021 is looking bright for the European cannabis sector. Recent decisions in the ECJ, the European Commission and the UNODC all point to an industry which is heading in the right direction. With the introduction of further regulation, infrastructure and education, all the building blocks are falling into place for a competitive and stable market, where consumers and patients have access to the most effective cannabis derived products and medications. By creating a regulatory environment which allows the industry to flourish, the UK can become the leading jurisdiction for cannabis business.”
Public support for cannabis in the United Kingdom remains high, with YouGov polls showing that only 24% of people wish for cannabis to remain illegal. Now is the time for the Government to deliver on its promises that the UK could ‘make it’s own laws’ once we left the EU, and back this profitable and popular plant.