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Medicinal marijuana firms vent frustration over UK laws at Cannabis Europa Conference

The system in place for access to medicinal cannabis in the UK is not working, according to Aurora Cannabis
Hundreds of people attended the Cannabis Europa Conference in London on Monday

Investors and businesses have been betting on a cannabis boom since the UK legalised medicinal marijuana late last year but there still are too many regulatory hurdles.

That was the general message from those who attended the Cannabis Europa Conference in London on Monday.

The conference attracted hundreds of people from across the globe, particularly Canada-listed cannabis companies looking at setting up in the UK in the hopes that the rules will be further laxed.

Under the current rules, only specialist doctors can prescribe medical cannabis in extreme circumstances, such as severe epilepsy, and only if other drugs have not worked.

Doctors have therefore been reluctant to prescribe the drug, with not one NHS prescription for full-extract cannabis oil been reported since it was legalised.

Campaign groups have claimed that only patients who can afford private health have been able to gain access to medicinal marijuana.

“There are dozens of patients in the system that can’t gain access,” Aurora Cannabis Inc (TSX:ACB) chief commercial officer Cameron Battley said at the Cannabis Europa Conference.

“The system is not working.”

Aurora is the second largest cannabis company in the world by market capitalisation after Canopy Growth Corp.

The company is based and listed in Canada but has operations across Europe and hopes to expand in the UK once the rules are changed to make it easier to do business.  

Another person to express their frustration about the UK laws at the event was Hannah Deacon. She has been leading a high-profile for access to medical cannabis on behalf of her son Alfie Dingley, who has severe epilepsy.  

Alfie was the first person in the UK to receive a permanent medical cannabis license in the UK.

His mum was appointed patient advocacy specialist of European Cannabis Holdings (ECH) in April.

Supreme Cannabis Company Inc was also among the attendees at the conference.

The company announced on Monday that it has launched an investment platform in London called Supreme Heights. Supreme said the platform would allow investors to explore opportunities in cannabidiol (CBD) health and wellness market in Europe and the UK. 

The firm also confirmed that it was looking to list in London eventually but the time is not quite right yet since the market was too "choppy". 

Cannabis Europa runs until Tuesday. 

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