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CBD demand soars during lockdown with UK market now worth £690 million


The UK CBD industry is set to generate annual sales in the region of £690 over the course of this year, according to figures from a collaborative report between the CMC (Centre for Medicinal Cannabis) and the ACI (Association for the Cannabinoid Industry). This figure surpasses predictions made in 2019, where the market was estimated to be worth £526 million by the end of 2021.

The report, titled ‘Green Shoots – Sowing the Seeds of the New UK Cannabis Industry’, offers an assessment of the growth of the UK consumer CBD market. In addition to highlighting record estimated growth, the report also concludes that the United Kingdom is now home to the world’s most evolved regulatory framework for cannabidiol and other cannabis-related extracts.

Recent interventions by the Food Standards Agency are cited, which include regulating CBD products as dietary supplements. In addition to this, Home Office regulations pertaining to “safe and tolerable” levels of THC within CBD products are also mentioned.

It is also claimed within the report that domestic restrictions on the cultivation and processing of hemp in the UK mean that the majority of industry profits are going overseas. This is due to the fact that UK hemp farmers are legally obliged to destroy parts of the crop from which CBD – a lucrative compound – is extracted from. The report also argues that the CBD market is a key sector for potential growth for the UK and that the government should consider adopting a more proactive strategy in order to capitalise on opportunities within the industry.

A total of 20 recommendations are made, based on a recent submission to a new government task force for Innovation, Growth and Regulation Reform. The task force was established by Boris Johnson at the beginning of the year in an attempt to boost post-pandemic economic growth.

  • Within the report, the authors are campaigning for:
  • – A new, dedicated agency to license and control the legal framework of the industry.
  • – The creation of a centre of excellence to fund, capture and promulgate clinical evidence to boost the medicinal CBD market in the UK.
  • – Reformation of licensing policies to take into account emerging evidence in plant genetics, agricultural science, new therapies, clinical trials and novel synthetics.

Jenny has been reporting on small business issues since 2001 where she held a number of freelance positions across the leading SME publications in the UK. Specialist subjects included SME financing and tax.

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