Is The UK The World’s Biggest Medical Cannabis Supplier?

The UK Is Reported To Be The World’s Biggest Legal Cannabis Supplier

It has been widely reported in news outlets like The Independent, Daily Mail, Guardian, Sky News and The Telegraph that the UK is the worlds largest supplier of medical cannabis.

What is the source for this surprising piece of news? A report by the United Nations. According to this UN report, the UK produced a staggering ninety five tonnes of marijuana was produced in the United Kingdom in 2016 for scientific and medicinal purposes.

According to findings by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), The UK is also the largest exporter exporter of medical cannabis with an estimated 70% of the worlds exports in 2016.

Cannabis is currently illegal to use for recreational and medicinal purposes in the UK. IN recent times, there has been an increase in campaigning for changes to this law from MPs like Paul Flynn and Caroline Lucas.

There is competition in this new emerging market, Canada is the nearest competitor with 80.7 tonnes of exports followed by the Netherlands. Sky news reports that a significant part of UK legal cannabis production is used for Sativex, a prescription medicine for sufferers of multiple sclerosis.

Sativex is a small peppermint mouth spray that can be carried around discreetly. According to the manufacturer of Sativex, GW Pharmaceuticals, the medicine is “extracted from cannabis plants that have been selected and grown to produce a constant amount of active ingredients” and “delivers a precise amount of medicine every time you spray it”  

Sativex is intended as an alternative treatment for those who find other MS treatment lacks efficacy, it is only available in Wales through the NHS at the time of writing. 

A six year old boy, Alfie Dingley has made the news due to his rare form of epilepsy. His parents believe that medical cannabis can treat the condition and have been going to the Netherlands to receive medical cannabis treatment.

In February this year, Labour MP, Paul Flynn, a long time advocate of medical cannabis legalisation in the UK, presented the case of Alfie Dingley to a committee debate in the chambers of Parliament. Paul Flynn and other MPs emphasised the point that there are many more like Alfie in the UK who suffer from severe condition similar to those of Alfie. They raised the point that medical cannabis is the best available treatment to such conditions and is in fact less dangerous than the current alternatives.

Although numerous reports state the UK is currently the No1 producer and exporter of medical cannabis in the world, this may be short lived. Canada could soon take that role. Several companies are eyeing up legislative changes happening across Europe and Mexico with Canada as their production hub to produce and export to these countries.

A Canadian corporation, Canopy Growth is planning major expansion across the globe in medical cannabis production. The company made 39,895.0 in sales & revenue in 2017 with 214.16% growth. The company plans to open production facilities in a number of locations including Jamaica.

Whether it’s the UK or another country who will stake the claim to No1 medical cannabis producer in years to come, major changes to legislation are on the horizon across the Western hemisphere and with that comes the promise of big profits for the pharmaceutical corporations. 

Surely we’re at the stage now where legalisation is on the horizon, if not the double standards at play here in the UK need to be discussed more openly.

Referendum anyone?