The Hodges Review - a review of UK public policy & regulatory stewardship of the legal cannabis industry
The Hodges Review

Background

The UK’s legal cannabis market comprises both medicinal (cannabis-based medicinal products CBMPs) and wellness products (consumer cannabinoids CCs). CBMPs were legalised in 2018 and CCs are now subject to novel foods approval by the FSA.

The regulation of this market is dispersed across the Home Office, the Department of Health and Social Care and Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and associated agencies without any obvious strategic coordination. The sector has no developmental footprint in Whitehall and as it stands is unlikely to accrue benefit from the new significant new public investment in research and development.

Despite this lack of effective public policy stewardship, the UK has created the most successful medicinal company in history – GW Pharmaceuticals – and is the first jurisdiction in the world to formally regulate consumer cannabinoids products.

Objectives

Create a settled public policy and regulatory environment that provides optimal support for the UK cannabinoid industry to grow and flourish. The hope is that this report will help maximise growth, profits, consumer and patient satisfaction and the industry’s potential. In this way the UK can create a competitive advantage for the UK in dealing with this nascent sector, and put Britain at the forefront of global cannabinoids.

I

To build a strategic engagement with Government and associated agencies – move from containment to nurturing

II

To establish a footprint / landing zone for the sector within government i.e. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

III

To establish a new robust coherent regulatory framework for CBMPs and consumer cannabinoids in the UK

IV

To optimise the potential public funding opportunities for the sector – UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) / Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) – Life sciences

V

To align ourselves with current government thinking with regard to future regulation

Scope

The review will consider the size and nature of the UK’s legal marketplace in cannabinoids, and make policy and industry recommendations.

The scope of the report will cover two main areas – medicinal and consumer cannabinoids – and it will take account of the entire supply chain from cultivation and R&D to product development, manufacturing and sale.

It will not consider wider arguments for legalisation of cannabis for adult use, as the Government’s recent ten year drugs strategy implies that is not a near-term political prospect at the current time. The UK’s large illegal market in cannabis is therefore out of scope for this project.

About Professor Christopher Hodges OBE

Christopher Hodges is Emeritus Professor of Justice Systems, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. He is a Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College Oxford.

Professor Christopher Hodges is Head of the CMS Research Programme on Civil Justice Systems at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. His books include Ethical Business Practice and Regulation (Hart, 2017), Reform of Class and Representative Actions in European Legal Systems: A New Approach to Collective Redress in Europe (Hart, 2008), European Regulation of Consumer Product Safety (Oxford, 2005), Multi-Party Actions (Oxford, 2001), and European product liability (1993).

He graduated from New College, Oxford in 1976 and worked for 28 years in major City of London law firms, latterly as a partner in CMS Cameron McKenna, specialising in product regulation, product liability and class actions. He is a Fellow of the European Law Institute, and was formerly Erasmus Professor of the Fundamentals of Private Law at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. His PhD was on European Consumer Product Regulation (King’s College, London, 2003).

He has a special interest in health systems and was Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (representing NHS community pharmacists 2007-11). 

He was Vice-Chair of the Association of British Healthcare Industries (2004-8), and Chair of EUCOMED’s Legal Affairs Committee (1995-2008).

Our associations

Association for the Cannabinoid Industry

The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) is a membership organisation for businesses committed to nurturing a safe, legal and flourishing consumer cannabis extract market in the UK and Europe.

The ACI offers its members access to industry expertise, representation and bespoke consultancy solutions. 

The ACI also runs an industry news site, Cannabinoid Insight, delivering articles and information on legal cannabis extract trends in the UK.

www.theaci.co.uk

First November Group

The First November Group was formed in November 2021 as a platform to represent the legal cannabis industry in the UK.

At this early stage of the development of the British consumer and medicinal cannabis sectors regulation and public policy has a profound impact on businesses operations.

The First November Group is the first industry platform to specifically provide political and parliamentary advocacy on behalf of the sector in all its forms.

Our commitment is to ensure that social responsibility combined with smart regulation are the key drivers of industry growth.

www.firstnovember.com

The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis

In 2018, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) founders ran the successful campaign to legalise medicinal cannabis.

The CMC uses a formidable mix of medical expertise, political nous and analytical skills to bring about positive reform for the nascent industry. 

The CMC represents a variety of pharmaceutical companies, producers and suppliers dedicated to supplying patients with products of only the highest quality, efficacy and safety.

www.thecmcuk.org

Participate

This review includes input from members of our associations. 

If you are not a member but would like to participate please complete the following form and we’ll be in touch with more information.