The location of Cannabis Europe is a fascinating echo of an industry that has seen better times in the UK. Old Billingsgate market was set up in 1850 and ran at its location until 1982, the UK’s famous fish market then moved to new locations as the fishing industry declined. The cannabis industry by any measure could eclipse the fishing industry in short measure with the right regulation.
The UK in 2020 has around 11 000 fishermen contributing less than 0.03% of total economic output in the UK around £433 million pounds. The industry factored heavily in the debate around BREXIT and taking back control.
The forecast for a regulated Cannabis industry are staggering in comparison
540 000 jobs, £5.5 billion in tax revenue and if correctly regulated the industry would be a major contributor, to help with carbon reduction targets. This really is time for the UK to take back control and restore Cannabis to its pre-prohibition status as a plant of national and global importance. The global cannabis industry is not going anywhere and will only increase in size and influence. The UK needs to decide if it wants to be a leader or a left behind.
Cannabis Europa is part of the fabric about the UK being a global leader in cannabis. But the event has always intrigued many people in the cannabis industry and the wider community. The cost of entry is one major hurdle for a lot of people within the community so it is mainly business-to-business networking, but it is pleasantly surprising. The diverse range of people that attend over the 2 days is an interesting reflection of the current global industry.
Meeting people from countries as diverse as South Africa, Ecuador, Israel, and many more. Just shows the global developments that are happing all around the world. Cannabis is being rehabilitated as a major economic driver for change. The legislative changes that are rippling from country to country are now forging global alliances between producers, importers, and distributors to the end users. One of the most interesting aspects was the size of the Canadian contingent. We can all see the stock market traces of Canadian cannabis companies whose values have plunged. A lot of this is because the expectation of regulatory change has not happened as quickly as some had forecasted. Let’s be honest, Cannabis Europa is about networking, introductions, and deals, it is where the Cannabis industry comes together to make things happen. It was fascinating to see some of the UK’s regulators in attendance. Things are definitely starting to change!
The event is a combination of talks covering industry development, patient demand, global regulation, and future opportunity. This is coupled with the network area where you rub shoulders with executives from all kinds of companies, academics, and advocates. Milling around in the network area is a key aspect of the event allure. It is fascinating to meet so many people from such diverse backgrounds with a common theme that binds us – Cannabis!
There was some innovation in the show. The Pax vaporizer has become one of the go-to vapes for medical Cannabis patients and there are hints of the new Pax 4 maybe arriving in 2022. Then VaporMed, the Storz and Bickel certified medical device for vaporizing cannabis. In the UK, legal Medical Cannabis must be vaporised so it was good to see these companies attending trade shows to show what they can do.
One of the most innovative was the OLEO a small start-up from Ireland where access to Medical cannabis is still highly restrictive. The company has developed a great app for tracking consumption and outcomes. The beautifully presented dashboards show a range of metrics that accumulates data for patients and provides information on the outcomes of use. The company also has a dedicated vaporizer that works with software available for smartphones to really understand cannabis usage. Richard Creagh one of the founders highlighted future iterations will be fully connected to the ecosystem allowing for prescribers to be updated on real-time updates. This really is a glimpse of a future with personalised wellness at its center and responsible cannabis use as a major facet.
The Government wants the world's best people to create the UK’s Brexit s future. Cannabis has to be an important factor in that. The world's best talent has access to careers around the world where cannabis is available in virtually all the major global cities through dispensaries. London is now starting to fall left behind and this is why Sadiq Khan- the Mayor of London has launched a review of cannabis in the capital. A mirror of what happened in Las Vegas when visitor numbers started to fall because millennials tend not to be attracted by alcohol. Nevada moved to legalise cannabis use to make the city a more attractive destination for those who prefer cannabis to alcohol to unwind and it succeeded. Take note UK
The UK wants the best global talent to come here to ensure the UK succeeds, we are competing with the most creative economies in the world who all have access to cannabis.
The writing is on the wall, take note Prime Minster. The sun is rising on a new industry that can transform the UK.