John Binns discusses the UK Cannabis Industry risks with Open Access Government

cannabis industry regulation lawyers

BCL partner, John Binns writes for Open Access Government on the risks of the UK cannabis industry as a growing focus of big business.

Here is an extract from the article:

“The casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that the position is more nuanced than it is, thanks to eye-catching headlines in autumn last year to the effect that medical cannabis had been legalised. In fact, what has happened was that an exception has been made for ‘cannabis-based medicinal products’ (CBMPs), though only where prescribed by a specialist clinician (not just a general practitioner) or granted a marketing authorisation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Those restrictions have proved to be strict in practice and the headlines now are about why, despite the legal change, the number of patients who can actually access medicinal cannabis here remains extremely small 3 and patients who are forced to obtain their medicines abroad are still seeing them seized at the border.

Another common misconception is that cannabis, or cannabis products, with a THC level below 0.2% are straightforwardly legal in the UK. It arises because the threshold is relevant for various purposes in European Union (EU) legislation and other EU jurisdictions and in the UK plays a role in determining when the specialist licensing unit of the Home Office would be prepared to entertain applications for a cultivation licence (and what fees would be applicable for such licences). But where the question is whether a substance contains THC, so as to make it a controlled drug, it plays no role at all and the better legal view is that if there is any measurable THC content, the prohibition applies (subject, of course, to having a Home Office licence).” 

This article was originally published on 2nd September 2019. You can read the full article below:

The cannabis industry in the UK: Risky business?

If you’d like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article with Richard please contact us in the strictest confidence.

John Binns is a partner at BCL specialising in all aspects of business crime, with a particular interest in confiscation, civil recovery and money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”). His business crime experience includes representing suspects, defendants and witnesses in cases invoking allegations of bribery and corruption, fraud (including carbon credits, carousel/MTIC, land-banking, Ponzi and pyramid scheme frauds), insider trading, market abuse, price-fixing, sanctions-busting, and tax evasion. He has coordinated and undertaken corporate investigations and defended in cases brought by BEIS, the FCA, HMRC, NCA, OFT, SFO and others.