UK medical cannabis group lures patients into buying the business

Isle of Man GLO is looking to sell 25% to clients and let them have a say in production.

Patients in the UK can now buy up to 25% of the equity of a British medicinal cannabis company located on the Isle of Man. This gives them a say in the production of the drug they struggle to afford and obtain.

Grow Lab Organics became the first company last year to receive a license to export cannabis from Isle of Man. The island has its own government, but it is part of a customs Union within the UK.

The company is looking for investors in the UK, especially those with medical conditions like multiple sclerosis who find it hard to obtain high-quality cannabis legally that can alleviate their symptoms.

Alex Fray said that involving patients in the business will help to reduce mistakes, create products they like and provide a dynamic feedback loop. It’s a powerful tool that will help us gain market share quickly.

GLO has teamed with Carly Barton who is the first UK person to receive a prescription for medical cannabis. She has created a certification system called Cancard for cannabis users.

Barton said that many patients find the legal access to this drug prohibitively costly and the products available unreliable. She said: “We will bolt on a lot more benefits for those who have invested in order to dramatically reduce their cost.”

There are many UK companies with import licences of medicinal cannabis. However, only a few are authorized to grow the plant or use its psychoactive compound THC. These companies are mostly restricted to research and developmental use.

GLO has been able to overcome the obstacles in commercial production through securing an export and growing licence from Isle of Man. The company hopes to change the UK market with the help of patients.

Cancard is an ID card that can be issued to patients who are registered and consume cannabis for medical purposes recognised by the police. This allows them to avoid being arrested for buying cannabis from street traders or growing it themselves.

Priority access has been granted to the 75,000 members of GLO before a public fundraising event next week. GLO has raised £4mn in funding from investors. Some of these are celebrities and wealthy patients using cannabis for treatment.

A YouGov studyestimated in October last year that 1.8mn UK residents were using cannabis products to treat chronic physical and mental conditions. Only in very limited circumstances does the NHS prescribe cannabis, and most people who gain access to it legally do so through private clinics.

In 2018, the UK legalised the use of the drug for medical purposes, including those of fibromyalgia and severe epilepsy.

Fray said GLO would provide transparency to patients, some of whom he hoped would become shareholders. He also stated that GLO would be transparent about the strains used and the method in which the plant was grown. Barton will be able to give them a voice, as he sits on Cancard’s board of directors and polls its members regularly.

Fray: “It’s important for patients to know how plants are grown.”

He didn’t expect Britain to ease up on cannabis use, like Canada and certain US states. He said that even in its restricted form the market had not yet experienced a “breakout”.

The supply chain was very fragile. “I see the transition speeding up,” he said.