Joint venture aims to take the UK’s dagga supply a grade higher
It will source and distribute high-quality, medical-grade cannabis from all over the world to patients across Europe
A private company that invests in the cannabis industry has formed a joint venture with a pharmacy wholesaler in the hope of improving patient access to medical marijuana and turning the UK into a gateway for the supply of the stuff to the rest of Europe.
Astral Health, an arm of ECH Group that was created last year to increase awareness of and patient access to medical cannabis, has teamed up with London-based drugs wholesaler Miller & Miller.
The joint venture will source and distribute high-quality, medical-grade cannabis from all over the world to patients in the UK and Europe.
It will also work with doctors and clinics to educate them on the types of products available.
“There is significant variation in the products that patients require. Medical cannabis isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing,” said Stephen Murphy, founder and managing director of ECH.
“We want to ensure we can bring the best products to patients across the UK through this joint venture.”
Astral will work more on the public relations side, educating doctors and making people aware of the products out there, while Miller & Miller will deal with the logistics, imports, licensing and warehousing.
Murphy said the joint venture could start importing bulk shipments, which should speed up the time it takes to fill patient prescriptions, which at the moment can take more than a month, and bring the cost of the cannabis down.
“This is the first time an independent business has been developed with the sole focus on importing and distributing medical cannabis from the most well-respected brands globally.
“At the moment,” he said, “there are no bulk imports, and availability is limited because there aren’t enough suppliers and not enough knowledge of what is out there.”
John Miller, of Miller & Miller, said: “This will help patients access the best medical cannabis products on the market by streamlining the process for bringing them into different countries.”
The joint venture has a licence to import medical cannabis into the UK, but hopes to start working in Germany, Italy, France and Spain, with an eye to using the UK as the hub for distribution to the rest of Europe.
“The classification of medical cannabis is different in each country, so we help navigate the compliance and legal issues in each market,” Murphy said.“The UK is already a gateway to Europe for a lot of medicine and there is a phenomenal infrastructure here. Whether it becomes the cornerstone of cannabis imports is yet to be determined and will be dictated by demand, but there is no reason it could not.”– © Telegraph Media Group Limited (2019)