UK medical cannabis company GW Pharmaceuticals is planning a massive expansion in Britain. This growth is necessary to meet the anticipated demand for a new epilepsy treatment, after promising results in clinical trials.
The company plans to hire 70 new staff members and invest approximately £50m in capital funding over the next three years.
“We’re proud to be a UK company,” said Adam George, UK Managing Director of GW Pharmaceuticals. “We do all our manufacturing in the UK and we are scaling up, ready to commercialize [the new product] next year.”
Although GW Pharmaceuticals is based in Britain and makes 100 tonnes of cannabis-based medicine annually for patients in need, not one milligram of their medicine is intended for use in the UK, where medical marijuana is not permitted.
“I don’t hold GW entirely responsible for this situation,” said Jonathan Liebling, Political Director of the United Patients Alliance in an interview with Marijuana.com. “Resulting from the ongoing legal status, they have had to spend a great deal of time and effort to get around and through the law and existing regulations regarding medicines in the UK. It took them around nine years to get their first product, Sativex, approved,” said Liebling.
Liebling added that, in his opinion, GW could be doing more to help the legality of medical cannabis in Britain. “[GW has] done nothing to further the cause for better access for patients [in the UK]. Good business perhaps, but lacking in compassion and perhaps integrity.”
According to the company’s website, “GW seeks to maximise the value of its product development opportunities and shareholder returns.”
The United Patients Alliance is the organization partnering with MP Paul Flynn for a planned protest in October to bring attention to the lack of medical cannabis in the United Kingdom.
“I think if GW could see the way things are progressing around the world and with the existing illegal market in the UK, they should realize that it is in their best interests, but moreover in the best interests of patients to help change the policy. It is difficult to believe that they have patients’ interests at heart,” added Liebling.
As GW goes ahead with its expansion, many groups from all over the United Kingdom are calling for the same cannabis medicines that are shipped away from their shores on a regular basis; medicines that could treat patients in need who live within minutes of GW Pharma’s facilities.
This article was originally published on Marijuana.com.
About Jon Hiltz: Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.