It's the last episode of Season 1 of The Hemp Community Podcast and we're doing a round-up of our year as a small business with some perspectives on developments in the world of cannabis news!
Also, to celebrate the new year, you can win £50 in vouchers when you take part in our podcast quiz! Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org before midnight on the 9th of January to be in with a chance to win!
Episode 10 – End of year round-up and quiz!
Hi there and welcome to the hemp community podcast. My name is dan, and this week’s episode is our end of year summary. As a special treat, at the end of the podcast we’re going to have a short cannabis quiz where you’ll be in with a chance to win £50 in vouchers to redeem in the shop or website.
There’ll be more details on the quiz at the end of the show, but to begin today’s episode, I’d like to recap 2021 from the perspective of a small CBD business during a global public health crisis. At the beginning of the year we were in the process of moving the business, physically from one location to another. The Hemp Community’s first premises was a shop on Great Junction Street in Leith, but during the pandemic our lease ended and we decided to move. On the 8th of January I walked out the door for the last time and started reorganising the shop in a storage unit at The Biscuit Factory. For those of you who don’t know, the biscuit factory is a repurposed industrial facility that is used as an arts and wedding venue, TV and film Studio, nightclub, café and more. The Biscuit factory is also home to a couple of dozen businesses inhabiting small rooms throughout the building; businesses such as hairdressers, fashion designers, 2 gin stills, a pole dancing studio, a world class magician and of course for a time the hemp community.
For the first few months of the year we were still in lockdown, and during this time the hemp community continued to serve customers ordering online or over the phone. I spent a lot of time in a small storage space organising and reorganising shelves of ever shifting stock. For anyone who collected their order from the biscuit factory, thank you! I really enjoyed that contact with people who would drop by the office to grab their CBD.
During the spring there was tumult in the UK Cannabis industry as the dreaded Novel Foods Regulations came into effect. For those of you who aren’t aware, the novel foods regulations are a set of rules about what CBD is and is not permitted in the UK. The trouble actually started when The EU Commission determined in 2019 that CBD had not been consumed in Europe before 1997, and thus qualified as a so-called “novel food”. Obviously this is nonsense, cannabinoids including CBD have been consumed by humans around the world for tens of thousands of years, but then again these regulations were written by people with little experience of cannabis, and written broadly on the behalf of the types of people who own labs and not the types of people who love weed. The crux of the novel foods regulations is that they treat CBD as if it were something, well, novel; something new, unexpected, an unknown quantity of something sythesised or newly discovered. The regulations ignore millenia of casual and medical consumption of cannabinoids throughout human history, all that experience going to waste.
Altogether I think cannabis regulations in our part of the world are a sorry state. In 2021 there were many companies who announced that they were leaving the market; unable to afford the complex and expensive Novel Foods applications, some businesses closed or switched lane and moved into different products. Business has to adapt of course. Needless to say the Hemp Community maintained course and we continue to sell a range of full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate products. Thankfully, there were many CBD businesses that did the same, and after nearly a year the Novel Foods Regulations are broadly ignored as hundreds of applications remain unprocessed by a department of government who bit off more than they could chew.
Don’t get me wrong though; I am sure my cavalier attitude towards the novel foods regulations will likely come back and bit me in the ass, pride comes before a fall and all that, but I see it as a learning opportunity. Super-strict legislation is obviously unsuitable for cannabis products, cannabis prohibition itself is harmful and costly, and despite there being no CBD in Scotland with Novel foods authorisation, there is conspicuously no wave of incidents or epidemic of illness associated with its sale or use. All we see at the Hemp Community are people improving their health by learning about cannabinoids and how to use them.
During the summer of 2021, the hemp community moved into a small retail unit in Edinburgh’s New Town. Our little shop on Henderson Row is normally open Monday through Saturday and it serves as our base of operations for our retail and online business. Our neighbour to the left is one of the most talented bakers in Scotland, and our neighbour to the right is one of Edinburgh’s oldest and most loved Italian chippies.
In the autumn this year we started the hemp community podcast, and this is the 10th episode. For what its worth, I have really enjoyed writing and recording these short talks. It has been a terrific experience being able to share my ideas and experiences in this format, and I’d like to thank all the people who have downloaded or shared the podcast. We have some exciting plans for the show next year, in particular by having interviews with friends of the hemp community, including customers, colleagues and peers in the cannabis industry. If you’d like to get involved, please get in touch via the email email@example.com, or dial in through our website.
The latter half of 2021 saw some surprise developments in European cannabis. The newly formed government of Germany have announced that they intend to legalise cannabis for personal or recreational use. Medical cannabis is already legal in Germany, and similar to the UK there is a lucrative private sector for 420-friendly clinicians. What makes this news exciting is that Germany is willing skip what could be seen as an unnecessary decriminalisation policy phase which tolerates drug use, but the supply is still controlled by criminal elements. Cannabis decriminalisation is a good idea and I’d like to do an episode in the future where we can talk about models of decriminalisation, legalisation and liberation, but for now I say bravo to the new German Government for grasping the nettle on this issue. I look forward to seeing how their policies unfold, and I’ll be sure to upload an episode when there is more detail available.
Germany announcing a liberal cannabis market was a surprise, but quick as a flash the Island State of Malta legalised Cannabis, with generous allowances for personal use and home growing encouraged. The Maltese government have embraced cannabis as a way of reducing the harm from alcohol, particularly in tourist areas. Importantly, the policy makers listened to the experience of cannabis users, for example; a proposed cap on THC levels in cannabis was rejected because enforcing even a nominal restriction creates an opportunity for the black market. The Maltese Government are acting responsibly to minimise that risk of harm that cannabis users face when they encounter arbitrary criminality in the pursuit of their own health and well-being. Residents of the Mediterranean isle will be allowed to grow cannabis at home for personal use, and the law will allow for non-profit organisations to produce and distribute cannabis for their members. As a social enterprise, The Hemp Community has already expressed an interest to operate within a similar niche, although we face significant restrictions in the types of products we are able to sell. Maybe we’re ahead of the curve a little, but I look forward to being able to grow cannabis in Scotland and see it consumed safely and legally in local communities and homes. Local and sustainable cannabis is both achievable and desirable; consumers don’t just want cheap weed, they’re looking for experience, your experience, their own experience, shared experiences. Legal cannabis can facilitate these connections, but of course in the UK cannabis remains illegal in most circumstances.
On the UK the subject of drugs legislation was in the news for a week or so after traces of cocaine were identified in locations throughout the houses of parliament including areas only accessed by cabinet ministers and their staff. According to the Westminster rumour mill, it is well known which MP’s and staff are able to source drugs like cocaine, cannabis and even party drugs like ecstasy. As well as being home to dozens of bars selling alcohol, the houses of parliament are awash with illicit drug use and the government’s reaction was to promise a crackdown on middle class drug use in the home counties. More prohibitionist rhetoric that won’t solve any issues and will inevitably be nothing more than a drain on public finances and police time.
Its not all doom and gloom in the UK cannabis scene though, in fact the legal medical sector is thriving! Tens of thousands of prescriptions for medical cannabis products are issued every month, albeit restricted to the private sector. The NHS has not moved to embrace cannabis as many had hoped, and I consider the disparity in medical cannabis provision between the private and public health is indicative of an underlying health inequality issue. At the very least, it is good news that many thousands of sick, sad and sore people in the UK are now able to speak to a doctor about their health condition and access regulated cannabis products appropriate for their well-being. At the hemp community we have supported a number of people through the process of accessing a legal medical cannabis prescription, and its really rewarding to hear how happy people are to be treated as a legitimate patient.
I’m not sure what 2022 has in store for the cannabis industry or the hemp community. Many anticipate big change next year in the form of federal decriminalisation in the United States, which would lead to a flood of investment from American banks and financiers. I suspect that the once the invisible hand of the market is allowed to hold cannabis, we will see swift and comprehensive cannabis law reform to follow internationally.
In the meantime, the hemp community will still be serving CBD from our shop on Henderson Row, or you can order from our website hempcommunity.scot. Get in touch via social media or through our website and we’d be happy to support you on your cannabis journey. Join the Community.
AND FINALLY! THE MOMENT YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR
It’s finally time to move on to our end of year quiz! You’ll remember at the start of the episode I mentioned that you can win £50 in vouchers to spend in our store, and here’s how it works;
I have prepared 5 questions, the answers to which can be found in the previous episodes of the podcast, and they’re probably not too hard to find online. To be in with a chance to win, simply send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org You can even slide into our DM’s on social media or whatsapp.
So that everyone has a chance to enter, we’re going to keep the competition open until 23:59 on Sunday 9th of January. We’ll announce a winner in that week’s episode of the podcast!
Hopefully you’ve got a pen and paper ready, or a window open to type your answers, because we’re about to get started. The questions are really straightforward, and hopefully you’ll find it a little bit challenging but not overwhelming.
1. What was the name of the 1937 law which effectively outlawed cannabis in the US?
2. What was the name of the 1st western doctor to study cannabis as a medicine?
3. What is the name of the artist who wrote the 1976 cannabis anthem “legalise it”?
4. What is the name of the aquatic species that is believed to be the evolutionary originator of the endocannabinoid system?
5. Final question, and it’s a two-parter; what are the names of the endocannabinoid receptors shared by every human being?
That’s it from us, don’t forget you have until the end of day on the 9th of January to get your answers in and you’ll be in with a chance to win £50 in vouchers. You can get in touch via social media or email your answers to email@example.com
Thank you very much for listening to season 1 of the hemp community podcast, I hope you had a lovely Christmas weekend however you spent it, and we hope you have a fantastically happy new year in 2022 when it comes. Stay safe, stay well, stay medicated and stay hopeful! The hemp community looks forward to serving you next year, and who knows where we’ll be in 12 months! One thing is for sure, we’ll be sure to keep you updated so please remember to subscribe to the podcast so you get all the latest updates and episodes.
Thanks for listening, and take care…