Responding to the barriers to access in the UK medical cannabis market

Megan Townsend on the CROP17 initiative and attempts to alleviate some of the ongoing problems with medical cannabis access in the UK

by Megan Townsend

At Volteface we have talked extensively about the barriers to access the UK medical cannabis market, from a lack of awareness regarding legality to a shortfall in the number of prescribing clinicians. Whilst it’s all well and good identifying these barriers,  what’s important is creating practical responses to them. 

This article places an industry spotlight on CROP17 as a turnkey solution for planning, building and operating medical cannabis facilities, and an identifiable response to the barriers of the medical cannabis market.

The barriers in question

There is clearly a lot of excitement around the medical cannabis market from a number of different groups including growers, cultivators, research and development, distributors and more. Whilst each of these groups has a great degree of expertise to offer the market, working in isolation they lack the knowledge to create operational facilities in line with regulations. This lack of knowledge, therefore, acts as a barrier for potential entry into the market.

On a practical level creating an operational facility requires entrants to gain a licence which can be another time consuming and complex process. To obtain a licence entrants must provide a full route to market strategy, proof that they have the capability to grow and acquire a significant amount of funding.

As it currently stands the industry is struggling to keep up with these demands as no business can meet them on their own. What is required if the market is to overcome these barriers is ‘end-to-end joined up thinking’, which, until now, was a key sticking point. 

Industry spotlight: CROP17

In responding to these barriers, CROP17 provide some innovative solutions. As a group, they bring together organisations with an industry record of providing cannabis, agricultural, pharmaceutical and property sector consultancy, with construction and licensing expertise. To overcome industry barriers, the partnership offers insightful and cost-effective services so that entrants to the cannabis market can feel confident that their project can be compliant, feasible and profitable. 

The CROP17 partnership have also sought to help clients through the complex process of legally growing cannabis in the UK, which can often act as a barrier to entering the market.  By providing ‘end-to-end joined up thinking’ at every stage of the process, CROP17 helps to reduce the risks associated with undertaking a commercial cultivation operation. 

As it currently stands, the partnership consists of a number of industry experts including global real estate services provider Savills, horticultural engineering and construction leaders Cambridge HOK, specialist security service provider Subrosa Group and commercial cannabis sector experts Hanway Associates

However, CROP17 have recently announced that Woodley Bioreg will be joining the partnership. The company provides pharmaceutical regulatory affairs and quality assurance support for its clients to guide them through product development and assist with QMS and MHRA licensing. Talking about the partnership, Ash Ramzan, Principal Consultant at Woodley BioReg said: 

“As the yew tree was for Taxol, the foxglove was for digitalis and the poppy has been for pain relief, the pharmaceutical industry is starting to recognise the potential wide range of medical uses of the cannabis plant.

We’re excited to be working to help to develop cannabis medicinal treatments for currently under-served medical conditions. Already active in the quality and regulatory development of medicinal cannabis, joining the highly experienced colleagues at CROP17 will enable us to provide our current and future clients with a complete business solution.”

As one, the CROP17 partnership represents a step in the right direction for overcoming some of the barriers experienced by companies trying to enter the growing UK cannabis market. Working with an array of industry experts ensures that hopeful clients make a successful entry into the industry, and positions CROP17 at the forefront of medical cannabis expansion in Europe. 

This piece was written by Volteface Intern Megan Townsend. Megan is a current MA Criminology student at Birmingham City University. Tweets @megant2799.

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