North American cannabis companies look to the UK for growth

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North American cannabis companies are increasing their presence in the UK to gain entry into a market that is expected to reach £ 16.5 billion over the next decade.

Five major Canadian companies have started importing cannabis to the UK since November last year, while Canopy, the world's largest publicly traded producer, has partnered with the British research institute Beckley Foundation for the development of medical cannabis. In May he bought a stake in the UK skincare brand This Works for £ 43m.

The last to arrive on Tuesday will be the controversial "super premium" Ignite cannabis brand, founded by social media celebrity Dan Bilzerian, who is known for his 27m below Instagram and Ignite models.

The launch comes just a week after the Canadian cannabis company Sundial, which applied for the NASDAQ index by the end of the month, acquired the Lincolnshire-based Bridge Farm Group for a sum not disclosed in an agreement to expand marijuana production.

"There is local, European and global demand for CBD (cannabidiol) and other cannabis-based products, which we are well positioned to provide," said David Ball, president of Sundial's European business.

Bilzerian said he expects Ignite, currently valued at £ 90m, to be a billion-dollar business by the end of the year helped by its foothold in the UK, where it will initially only market CBD products.

CBD is the cannabis product most closely associated with calming properties. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, responsible for the high euphoric status of the drug.

For any CBD product to be legal in the UK, it must not contain more than 0.2% THC.

Cannabis, which has been illegal in the UK since 1928, was legalized in specific circumstances for medicinal use last November following the highly publicized cases of Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley who suffered from epilepsy and were denied ; access to cannabis oil.

Access to the drug is strictly limited. It can only be prescribed if other forms of treatment have been exhausted, although this restriction has been criticized. Last week, a parliamentary health committee accused the UK government of failing patients, not allowing easier access to the drug.

Daragh Anglim, managing director at Prohibition Partners, a cannabis consulting firm, which projected the £ 16.5 billion market forecast, said it expects the UK market to open up for recreational use in three to five years.

"Establishing a functioning medical cannabis market would help to destabilize it in view of a rational debate on recreational cannabis within a couple of years," he said.

In a recent report, Prohibition Partners noted that London was becoming a benchmark for market research and cannabis-related financing groups such as the Canaccord cannabis investment branch and European Cannabis Holdings. Two major cannabis conferences were organized this year, including this weekend's CBD Expo.

UK retailers such as Holland & Barrett and Boots have entered the market. Holland & Barrett have launched a range of CBD skin care products in February and currently contain over 100 CBD products.

Cannabis sales could increase other areas of the economy if it were to be legalized. According to Nielsen data from last month, the use of marijuana in the United States is increasing its snack industry. Snack sales in states where marijuana is legal have a compound annual growth rate of 7.2 percent, compared to 6 percent in states where it is not yet legalized.

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