Webinar: "The Upcoming Gibraltarian Cannabis Industry", 20th of April

01 April 2022

The European cannabis market was estimated to be worth €403.4 million by the end of 2021 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 67.4% from 2021 to reach €3.2 billion by 2025. It is expected that several nations will introduce legal access to adult-use cannabis including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and others.

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The liberalisation of cannabis has accelerated in Europe, and the final quarter of 2020, in particular, saw several important developments. In November, the European Court of Justice ruled that CBD is not to be considered a narcotic substance under EU Law, paving the way for the future CBD markets. Just weeks later, the UN finally recognised the medical potential of cannabis by removing the plant and its derivatives from Schedule IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, with all EU nations voting in favour of the motion, bar Hungary.

With legislation now progressing rapidly, 2021 has already brought good tidings for the cannabis industry in Europe. The first patients have received treatment under France’s pilot medical programme. Switzerland has adopted new regulations regarding medical cannabis which has allowed for easier access by patients, and it did legalize the sale of adult-use cannabis under pilot programmes by 15 May 2021. . Portugal recently approved its first medical cannabis product for marketing.

The first quarter of 2021 has also seen massive developments in the commercial side of the industry in Europe. Jazz Pharmaceuticals has agreed to acquire UK-based GW Pharmaceuticals for just under €6 billion. Curaleaf, one of the largest cannabis companies in the world, is acquiring European operator EMMAC for €288 million. The London Stock Exchange has opened to medical cannabis companies and several have already listed, opening the way for large flows of capital. These are just a few of the major events in the European market.

As the patient access to medical cannabis advances across Europe, so too do the opportunities for businesses to embed themselves in niches of the value chain; before the market becomes more established. 

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Europe. It is also the drug about which both public attitudes and the political debate are most polarised. Interest in this area is rapidly growing, prompted by international developments in the ways in which countries are now regulating this substance. For Europe, this means that questions on what constitutes an appropriate policy response to cannabis have become both topical and important.

Alcohol and tobacco are the most widely used legal drugs, and the policy responses around the world range from absolute prohibitions, through various regulation models, to unregulated free markets. As a result, they provide invaluable lessons for developing effective cannabis regulation models. 

On August 6, 2021, the Gibraltar Government did publish the Medicinal Cannabis Act, and whilst it has not been enacted, it provides an initial step in regulating the local market for Cannabis and its derivatives in Gibraltar. It is important to create the right framework in Gibraltar to create a sustainable market and the respective opportunities for Gibraltar.  The main aim should be to create cannabis policies that manage the key practical challenges involved in developing and implementing an effective regulation approach aimed at achieving the safer, healthier environment we all wish to see.

GACO is happy to have engaged Naydan Porro and Mark Tewkesbury from Hempire Gibraltar (short Bios here below) to guide us through this interesting as well as controversial topic on a webinar and to debunk various myths as well as to open a window and show how the upcoming Gibraltarian Cannabis industry will look like. 

Naydan Porro has over a decade’s worth of knowledge within the cannabis industry, with particular expertise in the fields of cultivation, extraction and product development.

In 2015, Naydan founded the Medicinal Cannabis Society in Gibraltar, which served to lobby Government and MPs to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes, with much progress being made over the years. Shortly after this, he co-founded Hempassion in 2017, a company dedicated to the manufacture of high- end CBD products, of which he was responsible for formulating and testing. The Company also received the first EU Medical Device registration for a hemp-based CBD product in Hungary, as well as having built a large retail network across the country.

In 2019, Naydan was brought onto the Board of Directors of a Caribbean Licensed Cannabis Producer as Director of Operations, with responsibilities ranging from cultivation, to extraction and processing. He was instrumental in the acquisition of a Medical Cannabis license for the Company in Saint Vincent & The Grenadines, dealing with the Medicinal Cannabis Authority, as well as other Government agencies, officials and representatives, to ensure that they were comfortable with, and understood, all of the practices, procedures and goals he would set out for this large scale operation.

Most recently, at the beginning 2021, Naydan co-founded the Hempire Group of Companies in Gibraltar, a full-service cannabis consulting firm that specialises in the provision of Operational, Compliance, Management and Business services.

Mark Tewkesbury is a Fellow Chartered Certified Accountant and a Statutory Auditor in Gibraltar.

After having achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Accounting and Finance, he joined Ernst & Young where he specialised in the audits of large insurance groups and e-money institutions, with revenues ranging up to £300m.

Co-founder of TAG Consultancy, a Group of companies specialising in the provision of Audit, Accounting, AML and Compliance, Company Management, Corporate Governance, Payroll Management, Business startup and Development, Blockchain Strategy Advisory and Gibraltar Licensing Services.

Co-founder of the Hempire Group of Companies, a full-service cannabis consulting firm, specialising in the provision of operational, management and compliance services. Mark also has in-depth knowledge of local regulatory requirements and has provided Advisory Services to a number of Gibraltar based Fin-Tech start-ups seeking to obtain a Gibraltar DLT License.

Date: 20th April 2022 (International Cannabis Day)
Format: Webinar
Time: 9.30hrs - 11.00hrs (including 30 minutes Q&A)
Course fee: £35 GACO Members/£50 Non-GACO Members

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