Call for government to turbocharge UK cannabinoid innovation, as Minister for Science addresses industry leaders
The Hodges review reports on UK cannabinoid innovation opportunities

A groundbreaking new report published today sets out 20 key recommendations which, upon implementation, would set the UK on a path to become the global leader in cannabinoid innovation.

From Containment to Nurturing: How the UK can become a world leader in cannabinoid innovation was commissioned by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) and the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI).

Authored by renowned regulatory thinker Christopher Hodges, Emeritus Professor of Justice Systems at the University of Oxford, the report launched with a poignant speech by George Freeman MP, Minister for Science, Research & Innovation – in what is believed to be the first ever ministerial address to the legal cannabis sector.

The report draws on wide ranging inputs from leading industry players, academics, patients, consumers and investors.

George Freeman MP, Minister for Science, Research & Innovation

Professor Hodges argues that the regulatory framework he sets out would achieve three important objectives:

  1. Global competitive advantage for the UK post-Brexit, helping the country to leverage its historic and economic
    strengths in a rapidly growing and unprecedented global industry;
  2. Regulatory best practice giving early mover advantage, helping to pioneer new approaches to regulating a novel
    industry that other jurisdictions on a similar path can choose to emulate;
  3. Scientific advances and innovations, with pioneering new treatments, manufacturing methods, and end user product innovations, helping the UK to reinforce its reputation as the home of world-leading inventions and discoveries that improve our environment, our health, and quality of life.

The report views the cannabinoid sector through the lens of Outcome-Based Cooperative Regulation (OBCR), a regulatory philosophy pioneered by Professor Hodges. He argues that for regulations to be effective, they need to be based in trust and collaboration.

Included in the recommendations are calls for GPs to be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis, updates to hemp farming rules, modernisation of the Proceeds of Crime Act and the creation of a national patient registry for all cannabis-based medicines prescribed in the UK.

The report also urges the government to establish a ‘stewarding’ authority to govern and guide the sector and implement the required reforms.

Ahead of the launch at the Royal Society for the Arts, London, Professor Hodges, Emeritus Professor of Justice Systems at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford said:

“The analysis in this report and the principles we have outlined lead us to recommend a series of policy changes to help bring about the positive and shared goals that we articulate. The recommendations are directed both at regulators and industry, with the understanding that both parties have an obligation to cooperate to steward this new industry and support it to develop in an innovative but also safe and responsible way.”

Dr Parveen Bhatarah, Chief Scientific Officer to the CMC and ACI said:

“It is no longer wise or sustainable for the government to continue to take a distanced, disinterested or laissez faire attitude to the sector as a whole, as it has done since the cannabis sector’s inception. The seeds are there for rapid growth but it cannot happen without a clear strategy built upon coordinated government stewardship and the ambition to not just tolerate, but actively nurture the sector to expand and mature, so it attracts more investment, jobs and innovations, and secures political support and public recognition.”

The full report is available to download for free here.