A report published in The BMJ has shown various connections between groups and individuals campaigning for wider access to medical cannabis and those pushing for the legalization of recreational cannabis.
It also explores how a research collaboration that includes Oxford University is taking funding from the tobacco industry for research into the medicinal properties of cannabis.
In a two-part special report, investigative journalist Jonathan Gornall asks if industry support for wider patient access is motivated by promises of a lucrative recreational market for the drug in the UK.
By 2024, the UK’s medicinal cannabis market is predicted to be worth nearly $1.3 billion, while the recreational market is estimated to be even greater – roughly $1.7 billion.
In the first part, Gornall focuses on the links between commercial organizations who are seeking new markets for recreational cannabis and patient groups and individuals lobbying for wider patient access to cannabis for medical use.
For example, he describes the case of Billy Caldwell, a boy with severe epilepsy, who made headlines after his mother Charlotte flew to Canada to get cannabis oil for her son, which was seized at customs on her return.
Steve Moore, former CEO of David Cameron’s Big Society initiative, helped to organize Charlotte Caldwell’s trip and promote her cause. But Moore’s interest in cannabis is not limited to the drug’s medicinal use, writes Gornall.
Moore is strategic counsel for the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, an industry body for businesses and investors in cannabis medicinal products, and co-founder and strategic counsel of Volteface, an advocacy group set up in 2017 to lobby for legalization of cannabis for recreational use.
Moore is also strategic counsel for another trade body, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, whose members include the Canadian based Supreme Cannabis Company, which has invested in several cannabis brands in Canada and Europe.