This Week In Weed – 30 December 2018


Canopy Growth launches UK subsidiary

Canopy Growth, the world’s largest cannabis company, is launching a new UK subsidiary in a challenge to the hitherto monopoly of GW Pharma. Spectrum Biomedical will begin importing and distributing cannabis-based medicines to pharmacies at the request of physicians in the first half of 2019.

Spectrum says it will offer doctors a colour-coded chart to help them choose the right products for their patients, with each shade representing a different ratio of THC to CBD.

Canopy is also hoping to begin its first clinical trial in the UK in the second quarter of 2019, to test how effective cannabis is as a form of pain relief for cancer patients. The study is  being carried out in partnership with the Beckley Foundation, which supports research into banned substances, under a joint venture called Beckley Canopy Therapeutics.

Canopy’s chief medical officer Mark Ware said: “The UK’s change in the law around medicinal cannabis use is an opportunity to build research programmes here and support patient access.”

Thailand confirms limited legalisation of medicinal cannabis

Thailand’s parliament has voted to approve cannabis for medical use, although only for certain painful conditions – for recovery from chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy or chronic pain – while recreational use remains illegal.

Thailand’s junta-appointed parliament voted to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979 on Tuesday. The change also applies to Kratom, a South East Asian plant that acts as a stimulant.

People with a prescription will be allowed to carry specified amounts necessary for medicinal purposes, while licences for production and sale of the product will be strictly controlled.

The move has been described as a “baby step” away from Thailand’s US-backed war on drugs. Thailand has South East Asia’s largest prison system, where 70% of inmates are locked up on drug charges, although nine out of ten are for offences related to methamphetamine.

Meghan Markle’s cannabis farmer nephew calls for UK legalisation

Meghan Markle’s cannabis farmer nephew has called on the UK to legalise the drug after it was reported that his aunt wanted to serve it at her first wedding.

Tyler Dooley, 26, whose grandfather is Meghan’s dad Thomas, 74, said: “The UK spent $6bn (£4.7bn) on black-market marijuana last year.

“That’s $6billion going into the hands of drug dealers that could be taxed and applied to schools and streets and healthcare and things that actually matter. The UK is losing out because they can’t get on with marijuana reform.”

US-based Tyler, who is Meghan’s half-nephew, reportedly created a strain of cannabis called Markle Sparkle to mark her wedding to Prince Harry in May.

Aphria rejects ‘hostile’ Xanthic takeover bid

Canadian cannabis producer Aphria has rejected a proposed Can$2.8bn (£1.65bn) takeover bid by US-based Xanthic Biopharma, calling it hostile and under-valued.

Green Growth Brands, a division of Xanthic Biopharma, presented a conditional offer of Can$11 per share.

The US group, which has cannabis operations in Nevada, said the combined firm would be the only North America-wide firm in the business, and the largest by market capitalisation in the United States.

It said its offer represented a premium of 45.5% over Aphria’s 24 December closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange.