Partner Blog: A Legal Viewpoint

 

In the lead up to European Cannabis Week 2019 we have asked a number of sponsor companies and groups hosting public or private events to share some thoughts on what they do in the industry and where they see it going in Europe.

This weeks guest blog is from Hill Dickinson.

The moves in the UK and Europe to establish cannabis as a viable drug for medical purposes has led to significant recent interest and investment in the medical cannabis market throughout the UK and Europe.  In November 2018 the UK permitted medical cannabis to be prescribed and many other European countries either have followed this approach or are implementing changes to facilitate medical cannabis.

Considerable investment in the areas of research, development and manufacturing has created a window of opportunity for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs that simply did not exist in previous eras. Subsequent investment in cultivation facilities, hydroponics and clinical research projects has stimulated growth in Europe’s CBD wellness industry, necessitating the need for sound legal advice (particularly in light of developments regarding Novel Foods status in January 2019).

Hill Dickinson have been involved in the industry since 2017 with several investments by listed companies (including AIM listed) and the first listing on NEX of a cannabis related company. We have recently expanded our resources in this space, establishing an experienced team of dedicated lawyers in business services and healthcare. We believe that we continue to blaze a trail in this space, bolstered by widespread expertise in law relating to healthcare, regulation, international trade and commodities through a commercial prism. The life science sector has been a key focus for us in recent years, with the experience gained by our health and technology teams lending itself to strong progress in the medicinal cannabis industry.

According to recent research published by the International Narcotics Control Board, Great Britain is the world’s largest producer and exporter of medicinal cannabis. As a nation, we produce almost 100,000 kilograms of cannabis every year. In such an environment, with demand for political reform gaining momentum, the importance of legal compliance cannot be overstated.

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Long-term relationships must be built, enabling transparent communication and guidance tailored specifically to the objectives of your business. That’s why we take a personal approach to client onboarding and development, blending technical competence with human understanding, giving businesses the security they need to prosper. 

As a firm, we have advised a number of overseas companies, including North American companies, with regard to medicinal cannabis and CBD, gaining a nuanced appreciation of the evolving domestic and international landscape. On a personal level, I have worked on some high-profile cases, focusing particularly on the application of law across different jurisdictions. Given the strict licensing arrangements that control the production and supply of medicinal cannabis and the restrictions on the distribution of CBD products, such matters are likely to gain importance as the industry spreads across the globe.

Analysts predict that the European legal cannabis market will be worth €125 billion by 2028. There is a lot at stake, and due diligence at the outset can prevent crisis later on. In this regard, we welcome the inaugural Institutional Capital and Cannabis Conference to London, and encourage everybody to use this opportunity to forge new bonds to strengthen and mature the burgeoning market.

To learn more about Hill Dickinson’s work across the UK, mainland Europe and Asia, click here.

 
Olivia Rutter