Last Week in Weed Issue 10

Last Week in Weed (Issue 10)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

In this weeks issue of Last Week in Weed, we look at what turned out to be a crazy week for cannabis stocks, ‘Medical cannabis’ companies on the London Stock Exchange, and finally Guardi raid on a CBD shop sparks outrage and calls for clarification on CBD and cannabis laws in Ireland.

Reddit traders smoke up cannabis stocks gains

A few weeks ago a subreddit group called r/WallStreetBets began a coordinated assault on the traditional investment model of Wall Street. A large group of amateur traders discovered that several major hedge-funds had taken a ‘short position’ on GameStop, a US bricks and mortar games retailer that has been in decline for a few years.

Buying up GameStop stock at a phenomenal rate these novice traders forced the hedge-funds into a ‘short squeeze’ forcing them to buy the stock that they bet would decrease to lessen their differential loss. This in turn caused the share value to increase and more amateur traders to buy more stock further worsening their position and increasing the value of the stock.

This caused the value of GameStop to rise to a dizzying value of $347.51 a share at its peak on January 27th before plummeting down to $52 (as of the writing of this blog) Still more than twice the value it was trading before the explosion of interest from independent retail investors.

As we mentioned in Last Week in Weed issue 9, the sale of GW Pharma to Jazz Pharma caused GW stock to skyrocket to over $200 a share. This meteoric rise caught the attention of the Wallstreetbets crowd – who began posting about their intentions to make “weed the new GameStop

They sought to capitalise, not only on the GW/Jazz deal but also on the growing speculation that the new Biden administration intends to announce plans to federally legalise cannabis in the US. Most stocks have seen a steady increase in value since the winner of the presidential election was confirmed to be democratic.

What really set things off was Tilray announcing that it has secured a deal with Grow Pharma to import ‘medical cannabis’ into the UK – with importations expected as early as March. This saw an exodus from GameStop and AMC as Reddit traders made their way over to cannabis stocks.

This saw Tilray’s stock value start the week trading at $25 a share before rising to a midweek high of $67 before eventually crashing back to $29 a share by end of trading Friday. Many other cannabis stocks got caught up in this hype and were taken for a ride including Aurora, Canopy Growth, Aphria, and Sundial Growers. Sundial began the week trading at around $1 a share before rising to within touching distance of $4 before closing the week at just under $2.

This isn’t the first time Tilray has experienced this kind of extreme price rise. Back in 2018, the start of Canadian legalisation triggered a ‘short squeeze’ that saw their value briefly touching $300 a share before plummeting again.

Tilray will announce their latest full fiscal year and fourth-quarter financial results on the 17th February after trading – which will likely trigger another round of volatile after-hours trading from the new retail traders and the WallstreetBets community – if the numbers are good.

Since the start of 2020, the number of ‘retail investors’ has doubled. Apps like RobinHood and Etrade allow anyone to invest in the stock market and this trend looks set to continue. Well, until we hear the results of the impending US Congressional hearing due to take place next week. The chief executives of Reddit, Robinhood, and two major hedge fund managers are to be questioned about the ‘chaos’ in the markets surrounding trading in GameStop.

Stimulus checks will soon be on their way to millions of American’s that are now using social media, financial forums, and retail trading apps to empower them to take on the monolith of traditional investment. Will the stock market ever be the same again?

‘Medical Cannabis’ companies begin to populate the LSE.

London Stock Exchange welcomes first ‘medical cannabis’ company

As US and Canadian cannabis stocks became the latest battleground in the war between r/WallStreetBets and traditional investors. The London Stock Exchange quietly saw the first ‘medical cannabis’ company offer its first initial float on the exchange.

Israeli pharmaceutical company MGC Pharma beat out several close contenders to become the first such company to list on the LSE. The company is dual-listed on both the LSE and ASX (Australian Securities Exchange) but will keep its primary listing on the ASX.

The company was able to secure the right to trade on the LSE after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) changed the rules to allow ‘medical cannabis’ companies to trade on the LSE back in September 2020. So-called ‘recreational’ cannabis companies remain prohibited due to the Proceeds of Crime Act.

MGC Pharma’s legal partner Memery Crystal was instrumental in lobbying the FCA to change the rules to allow ‘medical cannabis’ companies to trade on the exchange. After launching its IPO MGC Pharma tripled its initial float on the London Stock Exchange.

There are currently several other companies including Kanabo (which we discussed in Last Week in Weed issue 8) and Cellular Goods, the David Beckham backed biosynthetic CBD wellness brand are looking to soon join MGC in trading on the LSE.

There is enormous potential for growth in this sector as we see the public embracing the importance of wellness and self-care, and every day more scientific studies are published validating the potential of cannabinoids. ‘The planned listing will provide us with the capital and credibility to serve a market where there is a clear unmet need for a go-to brand.” – Alexis Abraham Cellular Goods

Cellular goods have this morning started offering investors their IPO on LSE. They expect the market value to be around £20 million, however, given how well MGC Pharma’s initial float performed and the brand name-ability of David Beckham, it wouldn’t be a stretch to predict that it will be valued at a much higher price after closing.

The London Stock Exchange has great potential to become a global hub for the ‘medical cannabis’ industry. A great deal of the companies set to float has directly benefited from the rampant cronyism, corruption, and criminality that make up the highest echelons of the UK cannabis industry, policy reform groups, and our government.

Image: Little Collins CBD Dispensary Facebook page

Guardi raid on CBD shop sparks outrage in Ireland

The final story that we’ll cover this week comes from Ireland. Guardi (Irish police) have recently targeted the ‘Little Collins’ CBD shops. The business ran by husband and wife team James (JP) O’Brien and Ide Clancy have two shops in Galway and Kilkenny.

When Mr. O’Brien first opened his business, he wrote to the Superintendent in Galway city about his intentions to sell CBD. A Gardai Sergeant later visited the premises where Mr. O’Brien claims that he didn’t express any concerns about his products. Stating that the Sargent specifically told him that as long as the THC content was below 0.2% “all would be fine.”

The trouble started back in early 2019 when two members of the drug squad took samples away to be tested. A few months later in May 2019 one of the shops and the owner’s home was searched by Guardi, where they seized two litres of full-spectrum CBD oil and 10kg of CBD-rich cannabis flowers.

In August 2020, Mr. O’Brien was contacted by the guardi and told that they have been instructed to charge him with four offences under the Irish Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. The charges are for possession of “hemp trim” and products containing Cannabidiol (CBD)

Under current EU regulations, Cannabis Sativa L plants containing CBD and CBG may be grown as long as their THC content is less than 0.2 percent. Little Collins CBD dispensary has stated in an interview with local media that “We guarantee you it’s all perfectly safe and legal.” So why are they being disproportionately targeted? Well, it could have something to do with what happened next.

In December 2020, Mr. O’Brien filed a case in Ireland’s high court against the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the Minister for Health, and the government. In the case, Mr. O’Brien claims that he has not contravened the 1977 Act and argues that the DPP’s decision to prosecute him over ‘legal’ CBD and hemp-cannabis products is invalid under Irish Constitutional and EU law.

Mr. O’Brien claims that “the farming or production and by logical extension, the possession of hemp {cannabis} with a THC content of less than 0.2 percent is not illegal or impermissible under EU law and that Irish law is incompatible and contrary to the relevant regulations”

He also goes on to state that the regulations are unconstitutional as they fail to respect his rights to liberty, property, privacy, good name, and to earn a livelihood. On the 4th of February, the Kilkenny shop was raided again by Guardi.

This has now left the couple at breaking point. Mr. O’Brien announced on social media recently that the stress of this situation has tragically claimed a life. Posting that his wife Ide Clancy had suffered a miscarriage “My wife was healthy and happily 12-weeks pregnant before they raided us” Mr. O’Brien wrote online.

The shop owners have now asked the public for help and support in their case and to demand the Minister of Justice address this issue immediately. After receiving further threats from Guardi Mr. O’Brien has said that “I closed the store yesterday and today, at least. I’m obviously not putting my staff in front of this any longer” and “As soon as Ide is well enough, I’ll be going down to reopen myself.”

The regulations in Ireland are highly contradictory and confusing to say it mildly. Currently, the country’s Revenue Commissioners and the Food Safety Authority have issued regulations incompatible with one and other and EU law. Ultimately, this case is another tragic reminder of why the ubiquitous relegalising of every part of the wondrous plant Cannabis Sativa L cannot come fast enough!

You can sign a petition supporting the Little Collins CBD Dispensary,  here.

Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

Last Week in Weed Issue 9

Last Week in Weed (Issue 9)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

In this issue of Last week in Weed, we look at Jazz Pharmaceuticals buying GW Pharmaceuticals, one of the worst years for cannabis cultivation in Jamaica, and the potential federal legalisation of cannabis in the United States of America.

Irish drug-maker Jazz Pharma buys GW Pharma

Jazz Pharmaceuticals to acquire GW Pharmaceuticals

This week saw the surprise announcement that Irish-based pharmaceutical company Jazz Pharma is to acquire the British OG ‘medical cannabis’ company GW Pharma. The deal is set to be the largest so far in the global industry – nearly doubling the merger of Aphria and Tilray that we discussed in issue 2 of Last Week in Weed.

The merger will cost Jazz an eye-watering £5.2 billion. The premium price tag is an indicator of the changing tides in the medical world. The pharmaceutical industry has been quietly trying to move away from ‘traditional’ medicines and treatment models for some time now. This merger is perhaps a signifier that the industry is finally ready to move on from its legal opioid cartel and on to the creation of a cannabinoid one.

It’s an acquisition that will surely play a role in how international cannabinoid markets develop over the next year” – Kyle Detwiler, CEO Clever Leaves

It is an interesting time for the sale given the lawsuit that GW are currently tied up in with Canopy Growth over alleged patent violations with regard to C02 extraction of cannabinoids. Although, we did learn recently that the British CBD industry is to be effectively regulated by The ACI – potentially signaling the end of GW’s monopoly in the UK’s ‘medical cannabis’ industry.

Regardless, it is still a smart play by Jazz, who now gain proprietary control of all of GW’s products, patents, research, and their political connections. This means that the Irish drug-maker will now own Epidiolex and Sativex – GW’s extortionately priced CBMP’s.

“We are joining two teams that share a passion for, and track record of, developing differentiated therapies that advance science and transform the lives of patients. This will help facilitate a successful integration and bring added capabilities to Jazz. Given the strength of our balance sheet and the meaningful financial drivers of the transaction, we are confident in the value we can deliver to both companies’ shareholders and patients. We look forward to welcoming the GW team to Jazz to build an even stronger company.” – Jazz CEO Bruce Cozadd

One such patent that will be invaluable to Jazz Pharma is the 2010 GW patent for using phytocannabinoids as a treatment for cancer. That’s right, a decades old patent for using cannabis to treat various forms of cancer. Jazz Pharma are specialists in oncology (the treatment of cancer) so this patent will help them corner the market of CBMP’s to treat various types of cancer.

This invention relates to the use of phytocannabinoids, either in an isolated form or in the form of a botanical drug substance (BDS) in the treatment of cancer. Preferably the cancer to be treated is cancer of the prostate, cancer of the breast or cancer of the colon”- GW patent for treating cancer with cannabis.

The development of CBMP’s or BDS’s for the treatment of cancer will net them a tidy profit through exclusive distribution rights and a seemingly never ending supply of cancer patients seeking legal life-saving treatments.

Epidiolex – $32,500 a year CBMP by GW Pharma

They’ll also profit massively form Epidiolex as more and more of the global Epilepsy community see the benefits of cannabis to help treat their condition. Epidiolex is currently the only FDA (Food and Drug administration) and EMA (European Medicines Agency) approved CBMP.

This has allowed the $32,500 a year product to rack up profits of $296 million in 2019 and $526 million in 2020. With sales forecast to nearly double this year to $940 million according to the pay to play document ‘The Pharmaceutical Cannabis Report’ published by Prohibition Partners. If this trajectory was to continue the deal would pay for itself with in a few short years off the back of sales of Epidiolex alone.

We are excited to add GW’s industry-leading cannabinoid platform, innovative pipeline and products, which will strengthen and broaden our neuroscience portfolio, further diversify our revenue and drive sustainable, long-term value creation opportunities.”Jazz CEO Bruce Cozadd

This acquisition marks the beginning of the buy out of the ‘medical cannabis’ industry by ‘big pharma’ and the start of the end to cultivated cannabinoid based CBMP’s. The co-opting of the cannabis industry by the ‘medical industrial complex’ is inevitable, but what isn’t is our compliance in their cannibalistic capitalism, cronyism, and corruption.

The entire medical industry is reworking their entire medical model to include the endocannabinoid system and CBMP’s – but the development of phytocannabinoid-based CBMP’s will only last so long. After all you cannot patent nature – but you sure can patent synthetic CBMPs.

Many pharmaceutical companies are now desperately scrambling to secure patents, proprietary technology, and research to future-proof their businesses against the changing industrial, cultural and political attitudes towards cannabis.

GW’s founder and chairman Geoffrey Guy – who pocketed £5.8 million as a salary in 2019 alone – launched the company back in 1998 following a royal commission in to the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and a £10 million start-up donation from the British government. Two decades later and he gets to pocket another £65.9 million from the sale of GW while millions of British consumers still face a criminal record for cultivating, possessing, and trading cannabis.

The announcement saw GW’s stock price rise 46% on Feb 3rd when the news broke. Jazz Pharma have also announced that the deal will deliver $200 in cash plus $20 in Jazz stock per share for GW Pharma shareholders. A nice little profit if you were in the right place at the right time – but for the rest of us its just another fuck you from the establishment.

Jamaica suffering Cannabis drought

When most people think of Jamaica, they think of reggae and dance hall music, beautiful landscapes, Bob Marley, and of course cannabis. This week, however it was revealed that a combination of severe weather, increased consumption, and corporate opportunism has seen the Caribbean nation’s cannabis supply dwindle to its lowest levels in many years.

In what locals are describing as a ‘cultural embarrassment’ last years terrible hurricane season and drought along with tight Covid-19 restrictions has contributed to the Atlantic island running extremely low on ganja.

“It’s something so laughable that cannabis is short in Jamaica. It’s a cultural embarrassment.” – Triston Thomson, Tacaya

Recent changes to Jamaican law and the on-going global pandemic have increased public consumption greatly in the last 12 months. In 2015 Jamaica decriminalised possession of up to two ounces of cannabis – making it a ticketable offense with fines averaging about US$3.

‘Medical cannabis’ is legal in Jamaica with a doctors note or a valid ‘medical cannabis” prescription/card from your home country. They allow its citizens to cultivate up to five plants, and Rastafarians are legally allowed to smoke marijuana for sacramental purposes.

Jamaica has decided against a corporate take over of the adult consumption market by decriminalising low level possession and allowing social, cultural, and religious consumption of cannabis. However, with the majority of the islands supply still coming form illegal grow operations and those growers being subject to movement restrictions during the countries lockdown has meant that they simply couldn’t tend to their crops during the unusually chaotic weather last year.

The Jamaican governments Cannabis Licensing Authority – which has already authorised 29 ‘medical cannabis’ cultivators and issued 73 licenses – has stated that there ‘is no shortage of cannabis’ in the countries ‘regulated industry’.

Activists and consumers have said that the legal “herb houses” that have been established on the island sell cannabis at 10 times that of street vendors. Pricing out the average Jamaican from the market and squeezing out poorer farmers that cannot meet the entry requirements to produce legally on the island.

Although, the country choose decriminalisation over legalisation to prevent against the gentrifying and white-washing of their cannabis industry – they still might find themselves a victim to the vultures of the corporate cannabis industry.

Unfortunately, I doubt that the government will be stepping into help the thousands of farmers that are now likely to never recover from this devastation. Only time will tell in what direction the Jamaican industry will go and if it will actually benefit the countries population.

US hints at federal Legalisation of cannabis under President Biden

US hints at implementing federal legalisation of cannabis

In our final story this week, we’ll take a look over the pond to our American cousins and check in with their efforts to push the new administration into backing federal legalisation. Since the swearing in of Joe Biden into office on Jan 20th there has been a stream of news coming out about a possible move to relegalising cannabis in the United States.

It was announced at the start of the month that three democratic Senators, Cory Booker (NJ), Ron Wyden (OR) and Chuck Schumer (NY) would be working together to release ‘a unified discussion draft on comprehensive reform to ensure restorative justice, protect public health and implement responsible taxes and regulations’.

The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of color. Ending the federal marijuana prohibition is necessary to right the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of harm inflicted on communities of color across the country. But that alone is not enough. As states continue to legalize marijuana, we must also enact measures that will lift up people who were unfairly targeted in the War on Drugs”

We are committed to working together to put forward and advance comprehensive cannabis reform legislation that will not only turn the page on this sad chapter in American history, but also undo the devastating consequences of these discriminatory policies” – Joint statement by Booker, Wyden, and Schumer

This powerful statement blustered by the fact that the US House and Senate are now democratic is a good omen for those hoping to see the federal legalisation of cannabis in America. A recent Gallup poll from last November also showed that a record high 68% of Americans are now in favour of federal legalisation.

Out of the 50 US states, 15 and the District of Columbia have legalised adult consumption and 36 states allow ‘medical cannabis’ to be prescribed and consumed. Leaving only a handful of hardliners states to attempt to sabotage efforts at federal reform.

The main opposition to federal legalisation was former majority senate leader and now minority Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – who blocked attempts at previous reform according to Oregon’s Democratic representative Earl Blumenauer. So with Mitch being ditched it looks likely that any new legislation seeking to end cannabis prohibition would ascend the House and Senate with little resistance.

To finally have the active leadership of the new Senate majority leader, rather than being stuck in Sen McConnell’s legislative graveyard, makes all the difference in the world.”- Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)

There have been some other good signs recently that indicate that the US war on weed may finally be winding down. Looking at the stock market, we can see investor confidence is gaining as some of the big players are starting to make sizable investments in to the industry.

Newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris supported last year’s MORE Act (Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement Act), a bipartisan bill that was approved in the US House but killed of by Mitch McConnell in the US Senate.

Despite her shocking history on prison reform Kamala Harris’s support for the bill indicates that she will likely support future cannabis bills and hopefully even talk old Joe into backing federal legalisation of cannabis during their Presidential term.

The final omen I feel is worth mentioning is that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced in August 2020 that they would increase production of cannabis for research from 444kg to a whopping 1,700kg of flower and increasing their THC extracts from 385kg to 1,000 kg.

Evidence of wider changing attitudes within the US establishment and government or just an attempt to remain relevant in a post-prohibition world. Only time will tell if the US does federally legalise, but one thing is for sure a fully legal cannabis industry in the US would be obligated to use its influence to see that the fascistic 1961 Single convention on Narcotic Drugs was torn up.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

Last Week in Weed Issue 8

Last Week in Weed (Issue 8)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

Well, we’re officially a month into 2021 and things in the cannabis industry are continuing to grow and grow. There has been a lot of news this week in the US with discussions about possible federal legislation but there isn’t really enough to warrant me covering that just yet.

So this week we’ll be looking at Kanabo announcing that it is to be the first ‘medical cannabis’ company to float on the London stock exchange. The six companies that France has selected to supply its ‘medical cannabis’ pilot program due to start in a few months and finally the tragic suicide of a 23-year-old woman that her mother is blaming on cannabis.

Kanabo hopes to be the first ‘medical cannabis’ company to float on the London stock exchange

Israeli vaporiser company first to float on London stock exchange

An Israeli-founded vaporiser company called Kanabo recently announced that it is to be the first “medical cannabis” company to float on the London stock exchange ever. The originally Israeli-based company was bought in 2019 by a ‘cash shell company’ based in the UK called Spinnaker.

The VapePod vaporiser uses oil-filled CCell-powered carts that are ‘tamper-proof’ to prevent ‘misuse’. The company says that each inhalation gives the user a precise 1mg dose. Their website makes statements meant to downplay the efficacy of combusting cannabis over any other form of ingestion. This is just not clear given the limited data on the long-term effects of vaporising compared to combusting cannabis. (without tobacco)

This move was made possible by The Financial Conduct Authority who announced back in September 2020 that “medical cannabis” companies were allowed to trade on the London stock exchange. However, companies that sell “recreational cannabis” anywhere in the world – even if it’s legal in that region, would remain banned from trading due to the Proceeds of Crime Act.

For medicinal cannabis and cannabis oil companies with overseas activities, the company will need to satisfy us that their activities would be legal if carried out in the UK,” – The FCA 

Given that what we discussed in issue 4 of Last Week In Weed, It is interesting that the company is choosing to float on the London stock exchange rather than in Tel Aviv on the TASE. Regardless, the company has managed to leverage £6m from their investors and are valuing the company at £23.2m. Shares will become available at the start of trade on 16th February as Kanabo makes its stock market debut.

This is great and overdue news for the medicinal cannabis sector in the UK, both for medicinal cannabis companies themselves, but also for patients, who have yet to receive easy access to the products they need” – Nick Davis, chief executive of the law firm Memery Crystal

The VapePod seemed familiar to me when researching this blog. After some digging around in a box from my US road trip a few years ago. Sure enough, I found that I already own the exact same vaporiser only it is branded as Indigopro.

The Indigopro vape that I picked up in the US in 2019.

I actually rather rated this vape when I picked it up from a dispensary in either Colorado or Oregon. The only issue I had was nowhere else that I traveled stocked the carts. A somewhat reoccurring theme to my US road trip.

France picks companies to supply its ‘medical cannabis’ trail program

France selects companies to supply its ‘medical cannabis’ trail

Back in October 2020, the French Minister of Solidarity and Health signed a lengthy piece of legislation authorizing the creation of a small-scale two-year trial to supply ‘medical cannabis’ in the country. The trial will supply free cannabis and cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) to a small population of 3000 patients.

In order to achieve this, the French Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) announced that it would publish guidelines on how companies could apply to supply to the trial. Firstly, flower and CBMPs will have to meet pharmaceutical-quality standards guidelines and will only be used as a ‘last resort’ instead of a first step intervention.

The successful companies would be expected to foot the entire bill for the short-term experiment. From production costs to securing distribution networks, the companies are to ensure no additional cost is paid by either the French government or the end consumer. 

The winning companies’ products would have to meet amongst others Good Agricultural Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, Pharmaceutical-quality standards, part of the European Pharmacopoeia, and many other European regulations. All while taking the sole responsibility for maintaining the pharmacovigilance of the program. 

The patients will also have to meet the criteria by following consumption guidelines by following the dosage, only vaping the supplied flowers, and having one of the limited qualifying conditions listed below.

  • Refractory neuropathic pain. 
  • Certain forms of drug-resistant epilepsy. 
  • Certain intractable symptoms in oncology linked to cancer or anticancer treatment. 
  • Palliative situations. 
  • Painful spasticity from multiple sclerosis
  • Pathologies of the central nervous system.

This week it was announced by the ANSM that it had selected six international cannabis companies to supply free ‘medical cannabis’ to the countries small pilot program. The six countries represent four potential power-house nations when it comes to future international dominance of the emerging global cannabis market. Australia, Canada, Israel, and the UK.

The exceedingly high barriers to entry meant that in reality, only a handful of players were ever in with a chance of securing a contract. The companies that won were Tilray and Aurora from Canada, Althea and Little Green Pharma from Australia, EMMAC life sciences from the UK, and Panaxia based in Israel. Tilray’s share price rose by 10% following the announcement.

The first prescription is expected to be fulfilled by the end of March this year. You can read more about which companies will be supplying what products in this great article by

Image: Daily Mail
Mother blames daughter’s suicide on cannabis

Mother claims her daughter’s suicide was related to cannabis

The final story we’ll look at this week is the tragic story of a young woman’s suicide that her mother is blaming on her cannabis consumption. It was reported in several mainstream papers in the UK this week that a 23-year-old girl named Emily Rowling committed suicide by jumping from a multi-story car park in Nottingham on May 14th, 2019.

Image of Emily

The woman’s mother claims that she became addicted to cannabis and became increasingly paranoid the more she smoked. An inquest into Emily’s death was held at Derby Coroner’s court and returned a verdict of suicide.

Speaking after the inquest Emily Rowling’s mother, Kerry Head said “they say no one has died from taking cannabis, but I disagree, my daughter has” She then goes on to talk about how her actions detrimentally affected her daughter’s mental health.

As reported in the Daily mail and several of Reach Plc’s properties this week Kerry Head decided to cut off her daughter and not giving her money as she would just spend it on cannabis. She was advised by an unnamed ‘drug helpline’ that Emily would only help herself when she hit rock bottom. A classic harmful and baseless prohibitionist refrain.

We would give her cash cards she could spend at Asda for food so she couldn’t spend cash on cannabis, but we later found out she was buying video games with them and selling them to get the cash” – Kerry Head, Emily’s mother

Emily, who was just 23, had previously been diagnosed with Emotionally unstable Personality Disorder also known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Which is one of the most fatal mental health conditions, with some 10% dying by suicide according to the latest research.

It is also one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in modern psychiatry meaning that she may well have also suffered from a schizoid type disorder that went unchecked – as she refused to engage much with mental health services. More than likely due to the continual attacks on her cannabis consumption.

Cannabis has like any other psychoactive substance or severe traumatic event can precipitate a psychosis type event but it is not directly responsible without underlying or other excising issues. Cannabis use is indeed reported higher in those suffering from psychosis, but this doesn’t equal causation. The incredible Dr. Carl Hart breaks it down wonderfully in an article in the Guardian newspaper.

In our extensive 2016 review of the literature, we concluded that those individuals who are susceptible to developing psychosis (which usually does not appear until around the age of 20) are also susceptible to other forms of problem behavior, including poor school performance, lying, stealing and early and heavy use of various substances, including marijuana. Many of these behaviors appear earlier in development, but the fact that one thing occurs before another also is not proof of causation.

It is also worth noting that 10-fold increases in marijuana use in the UK from the 1970s to the 2000s were not associated with an increase in rates of psychosis over this same period, further evidence that changes in cannabis use in the general population are unlikely to contribute to changes in psychosis.- Dr. Carl Hart (Guardian 2019)

There is no doubt in my mind that her mother’s ignorance of why her daughter was choosing to continue to consume cannabis despite her best attempts to control and stop her daughter played a large part in her death.

Isolation and the loss of close familial connections are all too common in drug-dependent individuals but this is most often due to the continual stigma surrounding drugs, the consequences of prohibition, and the disgusting advice handed out by ‘drug helplines’ and anti-drug organisations around the world that tell loved ones to abandon addicts and treat them with ‘tough love’ when what they really need is actual love and support for the system.

If young Emily was, in fact, a borderline then she may have actually found a great deal of refuge from the daily hell that can be your BPD brain – trust me I should know. I am borderline and I utilise cannabis every day to help me mitigate the most destructive and vicious tenancies and traits of this condition.

It was difficult to try and get her to seek help. I was so worried about her, but she wouldn’t let us help,” says Kerry. This sounds all too familiar to me, I have a lot of lived experience in this arena as I had my own dependency issues with various drugs over the years that were greatly compounded by my family and doctors ignorance of how these drugs were actually helping me.

All they could see was the emotional pain and turmoil that I was in and assumed it was the drugs and not the lifetime of trauma and various consequential mental health conditions that I was fighting at the time. It took a lot of hard work, research, and convincing but I finally was able to demonstrate to my family and healthcare professionals that their demonisation and dismissal of my valid reasons for consuming these various substances only compounded my distress and impede my recovery.

A legalised cannabis market here in the UK would allow for the profits of sales to go to help fund the small minority of consumers that may experience dependency or unwanted side effects rather than just potentially fund serious criminal activities.

There is growing evidence to support the efficacy of cannabis to treat a variety of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. If only the British establishment wasn’t so attached to the antiquated notion of ‘skunk psychosis’ then we could actively be helping individuals like Emily instead of driving them to their tragic death.

Cannabis didn’t kill Emily Rowling, cannabis prohibition did. The ignorant ideology of prohibition kills consumers of all drugs every day with its unceasing stigma and shame. Unfortunately, this “bright and fun” young woman’s death is just another tragic reminder that the stigma, propaganda, and ignorance of reefer madness is far more dangerous than cannabis could ever be.


Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

Last Week in Weed Issue 7

Last Week in Weed (Issue 7)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

In issue 7 of Last Week In Week, we’ll be looking at new Canadian research that suggests that cannabis can help to prevent ‘cytokine storm’ that causes Covid patient’s immune system to attack itself. The Dutch government giving a 6-month extension to CBMP being imported to the UK post-Brexit, and a British man that has won a tribunal for unfair dismissal after failing a drug test for cannabis.

New research out of Canada suggest Cannabis could help treat Covid-19

New research suggests cannabis extract could help treat Covid-19

This week’s first story has the potential to be a big one. New research from Canada has shown that several cannabis cultivars could be effective in helping to prevent Covid-19 sufferer’s immune systems from attacking itself. 

The research suggests that some proprietary cultivars, created in their lab may help prevent ‘Cytokine storm’. A kind of extreme inflammation response that can follow acute respiratory distress caused by severe cases of Covid-19.

Cytokines are small proteins that are released by different types of cells within the body. They are predominantly produced within the immune system, where they are responsible for coordinating the body’s response to infection and triggering inflammation. The storm occurs when the system goes into hyper-drive creating too many of these proteins that they then begin attacking the immune system.

The study was conducted by the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, and Pathway Research Inc. The joint team of scientists used ‘well-established and full-thickness’ 3D artificial human skin to create a tissue model which they exposed to UV to induce inflammation. The model was then treated with a host of extracts from their proprietary cultivars to show if there is any efficacy in reducing inflammation. 

Cannabis sativa has been proposed to modulate gene expression and inflammation and is under investigation for several potential therapeutic applications against autoinflammatory diseases and cancer. Here, we hypothesized that the extracts of novel C. Sativa cultivars may be used to downregulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and pathways involved in inflammation and fibrosis”. – Team behind the study

Their results conclude that three of their specific cultivars may reduce the severity of Covid-19 by helping to downgrade the expression of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines and pathways involved in inflammation and fibrosis. This could help to treat and even put into remission those suffering with ‘Cytokine storm’ that can develop after acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in some Covid-19 patients. 

As to specific chemicals, our analysis shows that CBD or THC alone do not have the same effect,” says Kovalchuck. “We strongly believe in the full-spectrum, entourage-based effects. Likely, there are secondary (minor cannabinoids) and terpenes that contribute, and we write in the paper, that one of such terpenes could be caryophyllene.”

The cultivars that were used in the study were created by the team in their lab over several years and selected for their anti-inflammatory properties. Although they do not exist outside of their facility we have been given the cannabinoid profile of the three most effective cultivars used to create the extracts used in the study.

Cultivar #4 – 14.7% THC, 0.76% CBD, 0.1% CBGA, 0.06% CBN

Cultivar #8 – 14.72% THC, 0.14% CBD, 0.22% CBGA, 0.02% CBN

Cultivar #14 – 21.5% THC, 1.35% CBD, 1.02% CBGA

As these cultivars are property of the research team and they haven’t released the full profile we cannot replicate the cultivars through breeding outside of the lab. This means that it may be some time before we see CBMPs on the market utilising these specific cultivars to help treat Covid-19.

6-month extension permitted for CBMPs from Holland

Dutch reprieve for Brexit CBMP woes

As we discussed in issue 5 of Last Week In Weed, Brexit has caused a lot of headaches for some 40+ parents who have become reliant on specific formulations of CBMPs from Dutch pharmacies.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had previously stated that since Britain has left the EU, fulfilling UK prescriptions for CBMPs at Dutch dispensaries was “no longer an option”. This meant that Bedica and Bedrolite oils, which are produced solely by the Dutch firm Transvaal Pharmacy were unable to be legally prescribed for UK residents post-Brexit. 

Luckily this week brought with it some good news for these children and their families as the company announced that the Dutch government had permitted them to continue exporting the live-saving oils. This only provides a 6-month reprieve, as the permission expires in July 2021. 

We can confirm that the Dutch Health Ministry has given Transvaal Pharmacy permission to continue to supply prescriptions to residents of the UK for the next six months.” – Transvaal Pharmacy

The UK Department of health is said to be “exploring more permanent solutions to ensure people who need these treatments can continue to access them.” However, given their continual failures over the past two years to provide access, I doubt a deal will be reached in time. 

Man wins employment tribunal for unfair dismissal for consuming cannabis

Recycling worker wins unfair dismissal tribunal for smoking cannabis

The final story that we will look at this week, is the historic victory of a recycling centre employee that took his former employer to tribunal for unfair dismissal. This might not sound that important, but just wait till you read this. 

Carl Pamment worked for his employer Renewi UK services for 14-years with no complaints or hint of incompetence before being dismissed. Mr Pamment was fired from his role as a driver’s mate when he failed a random drug test in April last year.

Following his dismissal, he took his former employer to an independent employment tribunal for unfair dismissal and won. The case was held remotely and quickly convened with the judge siding with Mr. Pamment.

The judge, Paul Housego ruled that no account was taken of the genuine reasons for Mr. Pamment consuming cannabis and for his long unblemished service. It was taken to be gross misconduct because it was a failed test, without any assessment of the circumstances. He later went on to state that the only reason he was fired is that cannabis is illegal.

In evidence, Mr. Pamment said that he consumed cannabis to help manage severe pain and to help him sleep – adding that it was consuming cannabis that allowed his health to improve to restart work after being on the sick with a bad back.

This is a fantastic result for non-prescribed medical consumers in the UK. From what information is available, Mr. Pamment didn’t have a prescription but still had his consumption recognised and legitimised by a legal authority in the UK. 

This was only a tribunal judge but it nevertheless indicates a potential change in attitudes from the judiciary. The next step is another remote hearing that will determine the damages to be paid to the employee – who has stated that he just wants his job back. 

Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

Last Week in Weed Issue 6

Last Week in Weed (Issue 6)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

In issue 6 of Last Week in Weed, we look at a North Wales PCC calling for cannabis to be trialed in British prisons, Amsterdam coffeeshops looking to ban foreign customers, and Carling brewer Molson Coors entering the US cannabis market with a CBD-infused sparkling water drink.

Foreigners face a ban from Amsterdam coffeeshops

Every year we see a similar story appear in the media warning that Amsterdam, arguably the mecca of cannabis consumers will soon stop non-residents from frequenting their Coffeeshops. This year is no exception, but do they actually mean it this time?

In previous years I’d be proclaiming this a marketing ploy to drive custom and tourism. “last chance to go, I better book that flight now” kind of thing. However, between the on-going Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, and the cities new radical reformist mayor I suspect they might just be serious.

Femke Halsema, the former leader of the Dutch national green party and first female was appointed mayor in June 2018. Since then she has quietly overseen a campaign to reform the image of the city and to tackle the consequences of a laissez-faire drug trade and prostitution industry left under-regulated by a protectionist attitude towards the cities traditional tolerant views.

The Mayor of Amsterdam, who actually helped in the legalising of prostitution in Holland when she was a member of the Dutch Parliament is now taking fire from locals for proposed changes to the cities historic and world-famous red-light district.

The proposals include relocating sex workers from the well-known red-light windows into “sex hotels” or install paid turnstiles to force patrons to pay to enter the district. As for closing the area down, she said: “I don’t think it is very realistic as it is also a very profitable district, so it would be very expensive to do that.”

I am still in favour of accepting prostitution as a legal profession because I think the only way we can go to emancipate sex workers is to acknowledge that it is a market, there is supply and demand. But the red-light district has a sentimental flavour around it from the past – the idea of a sailor coming in and strong Dutch women telling him what he wants and doesn’t want” 

But if you look at the actual situation in the red-light district, most women working there are foreign, in a very vulnerable legal status. And we do not know much about their backgrounds” -Mayor Femke Halsema

Once again the Dutch Mayor has annoyed potential tourists, and some residents and businesses. This time by proposing radical changes to the city’s notorious cannabis coffeeshop system as part of a campaign to reduce drug tourism and the consequences of increased organised crime on the city.

“The cannabis market is too big and overheated. I want to shrink the cannabis market and make it manageable. The residence condition is far-reaching, but I see no alternative.” -Mayor Femke Halsema

The plan that the mayor hopes will be adopted by 2022 at the earliest stipulates that only Dutch residents would be allowed to purchase and consume cannabis from the city’s 166 coffeeshops. This restriction on custom would reduce the number of coffeeshops required to service the domestic market dramatically to 68 according to a government study.

The plan is supported by local police and prosecutors alike, who believe it will help reduce the flow of harder drugs linked to the cannabis trade. This announcement comes as the Netherlands trials a government scheme to cultivate cannabis for the coffeeshops to sell. An attempt to finally resolve the “backdoor supply” issue and a potential good omen for the countries likelihood of relegalising in the future.

“We can be an open, hospitable, and tolerant city, but also a city that makes life difficult for criminals and slows down mass tourism” -Mayor Femke Halsema

Well, it looks like it may just be the end of an era for Amsterdam. If this dramatic change does come into effect it is highly likely only to be a few years between the reigning in of coffeeshops and the complete relegalising of cannabis across Europe.

That being said, when we are allowed to travel again I imagine there will be a lot of Brits flying to the triple x city to experience it for themselves in its current state one last time.

PCC calls for trial of free cannabis in UK prisons

North Wales PCC calls free cannabis to be trailed in UK prisons

This week North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Arfon Jones called for British prisons to trail free cannabis replacement treatment for drug-dependent inmates to determine whether it could help tackle the growing problem of drug dependency, violence, and overdose deaths in prison populations.

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian newspaper, Arfon Jones said that supplying cannabis to drug-dependent inmates could help reduce the prevalence of potentially lethal psychoactive substances like synthetic cannabinoids (spice) and opioids that are rampant in modern prisons.

if justice authorities were serious about reducing harms and violence in prisons, “they should be addressing the causes” such as the cheap synthetic cannabinoid spice that is rife and can be deadly, as opposed to cannabis”-Arfon Jones

We’ve known for quite some time now that synthetic cannabinoids have the potential to be lethal and have a seriously detrimental effect on consumers’ mental health. The continual consumption of these compounds can result in psychosis, abnormal, and violent behaviour.

Both spice and opioids can cause a quite severe physical dependency and withdrawal cycle. Dependent individuals will often go to extraordinary lengths to acquire their next fix/hit simply to make the cravings cease and the pain stop.

The prevalence of these substances has led to an increase in self-harm as well as bullying and abuse by prison dealers and fellow inmates exploiting the most vulnerable while profiting from the systems warped belief that prisoners should suffer instead of being rehabilitated while inside.

Let’s be honest here, the idea that most people have of prison being a dangerous, hyper-violent, and institutionally corrupt place are correct. Hundreds of prison staff have lost their jobs for passing on contraband such as mobile phones, drugs, and even weapons.

At the end of the day, opioids are a damn sight more dangerous than cannabis. It would be an improvement on the illegal spice smuggled in by corrupt prison officers too.-Arfon Jones

So if a small-time cannabis dealer or grower – who is selling to reduce their personal expenses, supplement their income, and gain larger access to supply and variety – suddenly finds themselves facing a hefty prison sentence, then you can understand why they might just admit guilt and throw themselves on the “mercy of the court” in the hope of a slap on the wrist.

For the unfortunate few that play and lose the postcode lottery that is British cannabis policing the consequences are life-changing. They’ll be incarcerated and the only access they’d have to cannabis would cost them sevenfold what they would pay on the street and consuming it would also be rather risky, given the lingering smell and the fact they test for cannabis routinely in British prisons.

Their best option for a familiar high and to alliterate the devastating lows of being locked up, is to try spice. Synthetic cannabinoids are rife on the inside as they can be sprayed on all manner of combustible things, even a child’s drawing passed on visiting day. So accessing it wouldn’t be much hassle.

“The bird killer” as it is sometimes known is the ideal class of disassociating compounds available to prisoners to escape their spiritual, mental, and emotional torture of being incarcerated in such a wild west of a world. Prison officers also find it hard to target synthetic cannabinoids because they have no aroma and the testing used by most prisons does not detect them. The perfect incentive for prisoners to pass their time in a hazy blur of muted senses, thoughts, and emotions.

Unfortunately, the UK has yet to officially recognise the potential for cannabis and cannabinoids to help alleviate drug-dependency, despite there being rather a lot of positive research on the matter. This is insane when you know that they regularly prescribe heroin substitutes such as Methadone and Buprenorphine to reduce the usage of opioids in prisons.

The use of powerful analgesics like Pregabalin and Gabapentinoids has also become commonplace, both of which are now scheduled drugs on the outside due to their “dependent nature” and the market place that evolved from prison abuse – much like the criminalising of spice and other legal highs in response to rising violence in prisons. In reality, all this did was to increase the profit margins and force legal trade underground.

Arfon Jones announced recently that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection as PCC this year. Which is a blow considering he is the last high-level cop still in office that understands that prohibition is doing more harm than the substances it seeks to cease.

APrison Service spokesperson said“We have a zero-tolerance approach to drugs and work closely with healthcare to support offenders through treatment and recovery.”

Whether the system takes Mr. Jones seriously, only time will tell but if the above response from the prison service is anything to go on then this idea will, unfortunately, amount to little more than a pipe dream of an out-going policeman.

This news is juxtaposed to the reality that the UK is still spending billions locking up cannabis offenders every year. Ending the war on drugs would be far more effective at reducing violence, drug-dependency, and overall criminality in the UK all while enriching, rebuilding, and reconnecting the communities destroyed by decades of drug prohibition.

Carling brewer enters US cannabis market

Molson Coors enters the US cannabis industry with “Verywell” CBD sparkling water

Molson Coors, the brewer best known in the UK for its brands Carling, Coors, and fosters has entered the US cannabis industry this week with the launch of “VeryWell” “a hemp-derived, adaptogenic, CBD water with a crisp taste, zero calories, and zero sugar”. Each coke can sized sparkling water drink comes with just 12mg of hemp-derived CBD. 

They’re marketing the way the product makes you feel rather than any potential health benefits or as a “recreational” product. The three flavors they produce are “Focus” Grapefruit Tarragon, “Mind and body” Strawberry Hibiscus, and “Unwind” Blueberry Lavender. There is no mention as to whether these effects are created by added terpenes or not. Tbf there isn’t much information period.

The beverages are produced by Truss CBD USA, which is a joint venture between Hexo Corp and majority owned by Molson Coors. The two companies have partnered before back in 2018 in Canada with another joint venture called Truss Beverages. A company that sells non-alcoholic cannabis-infused drinks with THC for the federally legal adult consumption market. 

“This is part of the strategy to revitalize Molson Coors and grow beyond the beer aisle with wine and spirits, non-alcoholic drinks, and cannabis beverages. CBD beverages are a growing segment within the non-alcoholic beverage category, and this joint venture provides us an opportunity to build capabilities in Colorado,” -Jane Armstrong Hockman (Truss USA General Manager)

The team stressed upon launch that the two companies are independent entities and that they wouldn’t be pursuing a “recreational” beverage with THC as an active ingredient in the US anytime soon. But me thinks they doth protest too much in this regard. 

The global cannabis beverage market is set to explode this year as more major breweries and alcohol manufactures read the writing on the wall and cast their sails to follow the changing winds of our times. Cannabis is the future of recreational intoxication not alcohol it’s just a matter of whether we’re smoking it or drinking it. 

Written by Simpa for 

Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

Last Week in Weed Issue 5

Last Week in Weed (Issue 5)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

In issue 5 of Last Week In Weed, we look at how Brexit is affecting the importation of “medical cannabis” and CBMPs from Europe, the UK Home Office finally issuing a second commercial cannabis cultivation license after 22-years, and a Nottinghamshire Drug unit officer who was found to of made thousands from selling cannabis grow equipment online on eBay.

Brexit disruption for “Medical Cannabis” from Europe

Brexit disruption for “Medical Cannabis” from Europe

The new year brings with it a whole host of new problems. One of the first and most frustrating issues to emerge in 2021 is the effects of Brexit on the supply of “medical cannabis” in the UK. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has stated that since Britain has left the EU, fulfilling UK prescriptions for CBMPs (cannabis-based medicinal products) at Dutch dispensaries was “no longer an option”.

From Alfie Dingley – the first patient allowed to keep their internationally prescribed CBMP back in June 2018 to Sophie Gibson in Northern Ireland – who was the first patient to be granted a long-term license for “medical cannabis” there are an estimated 40 children with severe Epilepsy that are affected by the rule change.

The urgency of the situation is not being exaggerated, and one in two of these children “will die” if the medication is cut”- Neurologist Mike Barnes

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that the Dutch government was behind the decision to halt the product’s supply to the UK after Britain left the EU single market and customs union. In reality, it is the Brexit agreement negotiated by his party that means that EU countries can no longer fulfill British prescriptions for CBMPs.

This is actually a decision by the Dutch government. And therefore, we’re obviously working very closely with them to try to change the position. “It isn’t a decision that we can unilaterally change from the UK. And so we’re looking in the short term at an urgent legal fix and in the medium term, working with the Home Office and of course, the Dutch government to try to find a way through.” – Health Secretary Matt Handcock 

The DHSC has said that there are other CBMPs are available in the UK and parents should switch their children on to using them instead. This statement is emblematic of the ignorance that pervades the offices of influence. Cannabis isn’t ibuprofen – it is far more complex and nuanced than these institutions are aware and as such their failures have allowed this potentially lethal oversight to happen.

The parents affected by this change in policy were not notified directly that their current supply may be their last. The alarm was sounded by Hannah Deacon who only discovered the ruling after seeing a copy of a stakeholders letter just two weeks before it came into effect.

Every cannabis product has slight changes in it depending on the plant used to grow it. My son benefits from Bedrolite because of the quality of the product.“If we move him to another product there is no guarantee that he is going to be safe. That is very dangerous.”- Hannah Deacon

It is heartbreaking to think how helpless these parents must feel in the knowledge that when their CBMP runs out it really could be their child’s last dose. Unfortunately, I doubt that many of those affected by the impending changes had the opportunity to stock up on the products needed to help keep their children alive before the rule change came into effect on January 1st, 2021. 

All of this real life and death drama is being played out in the British press juxtaposed with the latest skunk scare stories and a few recent raids on local “illegal cannabis farms”. It pains me that they cannot see just how deeply interconnected they all are and how waging a war on one has such devastating consequences for the other. 

I feel that this incongruity in reporting perfectly illustrates just how much cannabis journalism in the UK is guided by a combination of the Dunning–Kruger effect and their own personal cognitive dissonance and individual biases.

Cannabis is Cannabis at the end of the day. Keeping it illegal for adult consumption here will only ever continue to greatly impede the future development of a robust, competitive, and equitable domestic cannabis industry capable of producing a variety of homegrown CBMPs to meet all needs.

Drug Cop caught selling cannabis grow equipment

Image: BBC News
Former Nottinghamshire PC Stewart Clarke

A former Nottinghamshire PC with 10 years on the force’s anti-drugs unit has been found guilty of misconduct by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The former PC resigned midst an investigation last year into the suspected theft of seized grow equipment.

Stuart Clarke made more than £10,000 by selling 140 individual items for cannabis cultivation on his personal eBay account between January 2019 and September 2020. After his activity was discovered last October during a routine vetting check he was subsequently arrested the following month pending further inquires.

During the investigation, he claimed that he had acquired the equipment “legitimately at car boot sales”Ultimately, it was concluded that they could not find sufficient evidence of criminal conduct and he was released without charge. However, the subsequent investigation by the IOPC did find him guilty of gross misconduct stating that if he had of still been employed by the force that he would of be dismissed. 

The director of major investigations at the IPOC said “For a police officer to sell such quantities of hydroponic equipment, knowing its potential for criminal use, was clearly inappropriate and a breach of professional standards and even more so in Stuart Clarke’s case, given his specialist knowledge and the role he carried out in the anti-drugs unit. Such activities undermine public confidence in policing and he has paid a heavy price for that.”

The 19-year veteran’s final position within the force was “Drugs Expert in the Cannabis Dismantling Team” yet he claimed via his representation at the police federation that he did not think too much before selling the equipment as they also had legitimate use in the gardening industry. 

“I am deeply disappointed in not taking a more responsible and moral position, and I accept my actions were not compatible with what the public would expect of a police officer.” – Stewart Clarke

The once “well respected” officer claimed that there were issues in his private life that were causing him stress, grief, and worry at the time. Mr. Clarke has now been placed on a list barring him from working in the police service again.

The force has since said that they have implemented the recommendations of the investigation to improve administrative processes within the specialist cannabis dismantling unit to prevent potential future misconduct.

This hypocrisy is a bit much considering that British police forces directly benefit financially from the forfeiture of assets from unregulated cannabis cultivation under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The sooner we can end this failed war on drugs, the sooner we can start to repair and rebuild our fractured communities. 

UK Home Office finally grants a second commercial cultivation license

Image: Gov.UK
UK Home Office finally grants a second commercial license

This week also saw the announcement that the UK has finally issued another commercial “medical cannabis” cultivation license. A recently founded Jersey-based company called Northern Leaf has been granted the first commercial cultivation license in over two decades by the British Home Office.

The relatively unknown company received its license a few weeks ago in December 2020. You may remember that GW Pharmaceuticals, the producer of Epidiolex and Sativex was the first to be granted a home office cultivation license way back in 1998.

The license has been granted for the company to cultivate in a 75,000 square foot greenhouse on the largest and most southerly channel island. The newly formed company plans to start supplying CBMP producers in the UK, Germany, Spain, and Portugal by the end of 2021.

Perhaps this could help our now rather isolated island nation to become self-sufficient by domestically cultivating cannabis flowers to produce CBMP’s. It could also help stock the various private clinics with “pharmaceutical grade” flowers to prescribe to patients. 

They will face some rather big competition in the form of GWTilrayAurora, and Emmac who already have established grow-ops in Europe seeking to do the exact same thing. The company is expecting its first shipment to be around half a ton but would not be drawn into a discussion about potential profits. 

The European “medical cannabis” market is still very much in its infancy – currently only carrying a valuation of $403 million. This is set to grow exponentially in the coming years as the European Union (EU) begins to finally pull its finger out and implements a union-wide ruling to facilitate the roll-out of “medical cannabis” to all member nations. 

Northern Leaf, which was founded just two years ago has declined to publicly disclose who their owners are but we do know that Chrystal Capital helped them raise £3 million in capital in 2020, and are they’re currently seeking more. So watch this space.

They must have been rather confident that they would acquire a license as they applied to change the use of a site they own in Jersey in July 2020 – several months before they obtained their cultivation license from the Home Office. A feat few have managed to achieve, but certainly not from a lack of trying. 

So, is this a sign that the UK home office is finally relaxing its notoriously difficult licensing procedures and criteria, or are the unnamed owners of Northern Leaf actually just another well known and well-connected individual or group in disguise? Only time will tell. 

Thanks for reading this issue of Last Week in Weed. 

Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

Last Week in Weed Issue 4

Last Week in Weed (Issue 4)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

Israel launches a cannabis index on the TASE

Israel announces new cannabis index on TASE

Israel has been at the forefront of cannabis research for decades after all it was Raphael Mechoulam – an Israeli scientist that first synthesized the cannabinoid Delta 9 THC and the endogenous cannabinoid Anandamine back in 1964.

A few years before making this discovery Mechoulam completed his post-doctoral studies at The Rockefeller Institute in New York – which is rather ironic when you consider that J.D Rockefeller was instrumental in suppressing and demonising cannabis in the early twentieth century to protect his petroleum interests.

This week saw the announcement of a new cannabis index set to launch on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in February. The index is made up of nine individual Israeli medical cannabis companies that are engaged in research, cultivation, or production and sale of “medical cannabis” in Israel.

The countries cannabis index has been given a rather low market cap of 1.7 billion Shekels ($529 million) but this is likely to change as the countries industry evolves and matures. I suspect that the impending creation of a “recreational” industry will be added to this index and the cap raised much higher over the coming year.

This news comes off the back of an announcement made in November 2020 that the country was to “legalise” cannabis within nine months of receiving the interministerial recommendations. The nine-month window is for the government to figure out the nuisances of “legalising” cannabis.

The Israeli model will closely resemble Canada’s but with a few exceptions. There would be a ban on sales of edibles that “look like candy” there will be no unlicensed home growing, and public consumption would remain illegal.

The proposed legislation would also reform their “medical cannabis” program and increase possession limits for consumers. Only time will tell if they can make the August 2021 deadline.

Illinois expunges half a million cannabis convictions

Illinois expunges just under 500,000 cannabis arrests 4 years early

The Midwestern state “legalised” “recreational” cannabis back in 2019 with the passing of The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. Notice the correct usage of cannabis and not “marijuana” this is because Illinois is one of the first states to use the botanical name and not the regional cultural colloquialism – marijuana. 

The legislation passed in May 2019 and became active on January 1st, 2020 – marking the first time a state legislator created a legal cannabis access system – opposed to a voter-led initiative overturning a state’s prohibition of cannabis.

The legislation means that residents over 21 can carry up to 30 grams of flower or equivalent weight of edibles and extracts but DOESN’T allow residents to grow their own weed. Although, doing so is only a civil offense resulting in a $200 fine. 

Predictions made when the bill came into effect in January 2020 suggested the state could generate 57 million dollars. This estimate was smashed by October when it was announced that tax and fee revenue had generated 100 million dollars so far in 2020. Making it one of the most profitable so-called “recreational states” of last year.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act was supposed to provide $12,000,000 in funding for social equity programs to ensure diversity in who owns and operates the state’s dispensaries but in reality, most of the license holders and dispensary owners remain predominantly middle class, wealthy, and white.

Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th amendment to abolish slavery back in 1835 and in keeping with this tradition they’ve just announced that 490,000 records will be expunged and 9,200 pardons granted by the governor.

“We will never be able to fully remedy the depth of that damage. But we can govern with the courage to admit the mistakes of our past-and the decency to set a better path forward. I applaud the Prisoner Review Board, the Illinois State Police, and our partners across the state for their extraordinary efforts that allowed these pardons and expungements to become a reality.” – Gov Jay Robert “J. B.” Pritzker

This announcement and implementation of these pardons and expungements are some four years ahead of the 2025 deadline set forth by the act. There remain many individuals whose lives have been destroyed by prohibition and the culture it created who will never see their slate wiped clean or their deep emotional wounds and psychological scars healed.

Killer Mike: Rapper, Activist, and cannabis advocate

Killer Mike calls for black people to have a “big stake” in the US legal cannabis industry

The final story we will look at this week is Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike’s call for black Americans to have a “big stake” in the countries legal cannabis industry as it has basically been built on their backs. 

And I’m gone be frank and say Black folks deserve a big stake. We deserve at least 25% of the marijuana industry because it has truly been built on our backs. And we need more med men that are owned by men that look like me.”- Killer Mike

The rapper, actor, and activist was speaking to TMZ Live last week when he made the comments. He was discussing how black Americans that have cannabis convictions are restricted from the industry that they have effectively created and nurtured through the darkest days of prohibition. 

The Atlanta rapper and social justice activist also called on president-elect Joe Biden to do what Bernie Sanders said he would do on the campaign trail – deschedule cannabis on day one of his presidency. 

You have the power in that pen to invoke things like gun laws. You should have the power of that pen to take it off the schedule one list, so that if nothing else, it gets decriminalized enough so kids’ lives aren’t ruined forever for that.”- Killer Mike

Killer Mike and the other half of Run The Jewels El P recently announced a collaboration with Cookies founder Burner to create a custom hybrid cannabis cultivar. The cultivar named, Ohh La La after a song from their fourth album RTJ4 has been breed by Lemonnade, the sister-company to Cookies responsible for breeding Lemonchello. 

That is all for another week folks. Thanks for reading this blog, if you enjoyed it then please give it a share! 

Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

Last Week in Weed Issue 3

Last Week in Weed (Issue 3)

Last Week in Weed: A weekly blog from The Simpa Life

In this third issue of Last Week in Weed, we look at Canopy Growth’s extraction copyright lawsuit against GW Pharmaceuticals, A new cannabis and PTSD study, and just how much weed the US went through in 2020.

Canopy Growth files copyright lawsuit against GW Pharmaceuticals

Canopy Growth files copyright lawsuit against GW Pharmaceuticals

By far the biggest news of the week is that Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth has filed a lawsuit against GW Pharmaceuticals. The suit claims that GW’s C02 extraction method infringes on their patent for c02 extraction. 

C02 extraction is one of the most effective methods for extracting cannabinoids – because of this many companies use the technology in the production of their cannabis products. If successful Canopy could go on to file against many if not all companies using C02 extraction.

Canopy Growth, the company that boasts DNA Genetics, Houseplant – the company founded by Seth Rogen, and Martha Stewart’s new CBD range is one of the largest players in the North American cannabis industry. 

The lawsuit alleges that GW Pharmaceuticals’ use of C02 extraction in the production of its CBD-rich Cannabis-based Medicinal Product (CBMP) Epidolex as described on their website infringes on Canopy’s newly acquired extraction patent

A spokesperson for GW Pharmaceuticals said “the company was aware of the suit but would not comment on pending litigation”

The 20-year-old patent was acquired by Canopy earlier this month for just $1 from German-based Spectrum Therapeutics. The Company then immediately filed with the US patent office. The same day the patent was successfully granted the company filed a patent lawsuit in federal court in Waco, Texas. 

The timing of the filing suggests that this is all part of a much larger strategy to control more of the cannabis market by licensing the rights to C02 extraction of cannabinoids around the world. This puts Canopy in a great position as GW would have to outright win the case to prevent them from filing similar suits against other manufacturers using similar technology. 

As news of the lawsuit broke shares in GW fell and Canopy Growth rose as investors tried to understand the potential scale and impact of disruption this case could have on the industry.

A new study confirms the efficacy of cannabis to treat PTSD

A new study confirms the efficacy of cannabis to treat PTSD

This week saw the release of another study investigating the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There have already been a plethora of positive studies looking at the effects of cannabis on the mental health disorder. This latest study suggests that not only can cannabis help reduce symptoms but that it can also increase the likelihood of recovery. 

PTSD is a mental health disorder that can affect anyone who has suffered trauma. Any kind of trauma can cause PTSD – such as sexual assault, child abuse, warfare, violence assault, or serious accidents – basically, any threat to life can leave someone suffering with PTSD symptoms. 

Although most individuals won’t develop PTSD as a consequence of experiencing traumatic events those that do can be left with debilitating symptoms that last many years after the initial traumatising event. 

This research concludes that cannabis can be both effective in relieving symptoms and aid in long term recovery from the disorder. The group that received cannabis over the year-long study had a higher recovery rate than those who didn’t consume cannabis at all. 

In the group that consumed cannabis, there was an improvement of recovery by 2.57 times over the control group which didn’t consume cannabis. There was also a dramatic decrease in the symptoms reported by the cannabis consuming group. 

As someone that suffers from C-PTSD, I welcome further evidence of the efficacy of cannabis to treat PTSD as the traditional methods of treatment are too often ineffective and can actually slow recovery instead of aiding it. 

The study was conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and executed by researchers at The University of Colorado, The University of Pennsylvania, The University of California San Diego, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. 

How Much weed did the US consume in 2020?

How much weed did the United States consume in 2020?

We all know the US likes their cannabis, but just how much weed does “the land of the free” go through? A recent article claims that the United States consumed nearly $18 billion worth of cannabis in 2020. 

There is now 37 US state that has access to “medical cannabis” and 15 states plus Washington DC that have “legalised” adult consumption making America one of the largest cannabis marketplaces on earth so far.

Recently released state tax and revenue data correlated by Leafly reveal just how much cannabis our North Atlantic neighbours have been consuming in 2020. The US spent $17.9 billion on Cannabis in 2020 a dramatic increase from 2019s total of $10.7 billion.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic various US state governors declared that cannabis was an essential business and could remain open during lockdown. The dispensaries responded by rapidly setting up online ordering systems, kerbside pick-ups, and home delivery to meet consumers’ needs.

In response to these new easier shopping options and the ever-growing uncertainty of the times sales grew greatly in April and remained high throughout the rest of the year. So with more states set to vote on cannabis legislation in 2021 it’s a pretty safe bet that next year’s revenue will far exceed that of this year.

Written by Simpa for


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.

Last Week in Weed Issue 2

Last Week in Weed (Issue 2)

Last Week in Weed: A new weekly blog

Welcome to another issue of Last Week in Weed. This week we’ll be looking at the merger of two Canadian cannabis companies, the launch of Monogram by Jay-Z, and an update on the Irish fight to legalise cannabis on the Emerald isle. 

Monogram – The new brand from rapper Jay-Z

Rapper Jay-Z announces launch of Cannabis brand – Monogram

First up let’s talk about the rapper Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, who announced the launch of Monogram, a luxury and in my opinion rather gentrified cannabis lifestyle brand that sells $50 prerolls that features a “proprietary roll technique allowing the flower to burn slowly and evenly for multiple sessions,” according to a press release from the brand. 

Monogram is produced in partnership with Caliva (CMG Partners Inc) one of California’s largest producers of Cannabis. Caliva, along with another Jay-Z owned company, Roc Nation (the music company Jay-Z started with Live Nation back in 2008) and another Californian cannabis company Left Coast Ventures was part of a multi-million dollar deal by Subversive Capital Acquisition Corp to integrate the brands to create California’s largest cannabis company – TCPO Holding Corps (the Parent company)

The dirt of your shoulders singer joins the newly formed company as “Chief Visionary Officer” where Carter’s role will help guide brand strategy as well as lead the company with a goal of amongst other things to raise $10 million to invest in minority and Black-owned cannabis companies. 

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation LLC boasts an impressive roster of well-known artists including Rihanna, DJ Khaled, and Mariah Carey. So expect to see a lot more mainstream musicians promoting cannabis products and becoming brand ambassadors in the coming months and years. 

TPCO also announced that it will contribute at least 2% of its net annual income to support social equity initiatives. A little low given the amount of revenue that the holding company is set to make by dominating the Californian cannabis industry. 

Tilray and Aphria announce merger

Tilray and Aphria announce the cannabis industries largest merger so far.

This week it was announced that two Canadian powerhouses are to merge to form Canada’s – and the world’s largest cannabis company. The two companies that are set two conglomerate had a combined profit in excess of 500 million dollars in 2020 – making it now the largest single player in the Canadian game. The deal comes after a similar deal with struggling producer Aurora fell through

The two companies Aphria and Tilray have arguably made this deal to secure a stronger foothold in the Canadian marketplace but the deal also best positions them for the potential of the United States legalising cannabis at the federal level in the coming years – a move that looks rather likely under a Biden presidency. 

One thing that isn’t being discussed all that much is how well this places the newly created venture in Europe. Aphria already has a growing facility in Germany that helps supply 13,000 dispensing pharmacies across Europe and Tilray, you may recall is rumored to of been involved in the handicapping of Portugal’s attempts to “legalise” the cultivation of “medical cannabis” at home in 2018. 

Shortly before Portugal announced that it planned to “legalise” “medical cannabis” in July 2018 Tilray announced that it would be building a 250,000 square-foot facility costing $20 million in Cantanhede about 130 miles north of Lisbon.

Putting our companies together creates the largest medical cannabis business in Europe, and prepares us if one-day legalization happens in the EU,” Aphria Chief Executive Officer Irwin Simon

The facility officially opened in April 2019 and by August of the same year had already secured its first multi-million dollar deal to supply “medical cannabis” to Germany – a sign of things to come.

Tilray has been linked to various campaigns around the world including the push to “legalise” “medical cannabis” in the UK during the summer of 2018. The parent company of Tilray, Privateer holdings are linked to various British cannabis campaigns and reform movements including the conservative think-tank Volteface

There’s a good chance that two years from now, five to six countries in Europe will legalize cannabis for adult use,” Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy

Volteface, which is run by Steve Moore and financed by Paul Birch also has close links to the CMCthe ACIEnd our Pain, and Families4acess. The organisation is arguably responsible for “legalising” “medical cannabis” in the UK in November 2018 following a sustained and well-executed media campaign. 

The campaign fronted by Charlotte Cauldwell after she announced that it was a Tilray cannabis-based medicine that “saved her son’s life” was coincidentally and rather fortuitously timed given that in July 2018 Tilray became the first cannabis company to offer an IPO on the NASDAQ (the US stock market) just a few weeks after announcing that the “medical cannabis” company would be moving into the “recreational” market in Canada by launching a subsidiary company called High Park.

The initial float price was $17 dollars a share but it quickly gained traction in tandem with the British campaign to “legalise” “medical cannabis” before peaking in September 2018 at $214 a share just before the new legislation came in to effect in the UK. 

So with the global cannabis market set to be worth an eye-watering $147 Billion by 2027 you can expect to see a lot more of this kind of thing in the coming years. 

The latest news from the Emerald isle

The latest cannabis news from Ireland

Finally, we’ll be looking at the news coming out of Ireland that the Health Minister has announced that “cannabis patients” who have been receiving their Dutch prescriptions for “medical cannabis” via the temporary supply system set up to assist during the Covid-19 pandemic is to be made permanent

“Medical cannabis” in Ireland isn’t legal, nor is it really illegal at the moment. In November 2016 the Irish Minister for Health asked the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) to provide scientific advice on the potential therapeutic properties of cannabis. 

The result was the publication of Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review in January 2017. After the review, an Expert Reference Group was established by the health minister to advise on the development of a Medical Cannabis Access Programme. 

The group developed clinical guidelines for the prescribing of cannabis-based medications and approved CBMP’s in the treatment of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and treatment-resistant epilepsy.

There were various delays in the roll-out of the project but on 26th June 2019, the Minister for Health finally signed legislation to allow for the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Program (MCAP) on a pilot basis for five years.

A few months later two new products were approved and registered for use under the MCAP. The two cannabis preparations were Aurora’s High CBD Oil Drops and MGC Pharmaceuticals CannEpil joining the already approved GW Pharmaceutical’s Sativex. The end of 2019 also saw the approval of Tilray’s 10:10 oil for use as part of the MCAP – with more expected to be added throughout the life of the 5-year pilot program.

The other big news from our Irish neighbours is that low-level personal possession of cannabis is no longer going to be prosecuted. Cannabis possession will instead now be added to the 2006 Adult Cautioning System. The inclusion of cannabis into this system means that individuals caught in possession of cannabis will face a caution and not prosecution for their first offense. 

The system helps individuals avoid prosecution for possession, however, you will still be taken to the station and need to acknowledge in writing that you agree to accept the caution. A caution under the system should only be applied once and will remain visible to the authorities in the event of any further criminal investigations or charges. 

Ireland has some amazing advocates and activists fighting to relegalise cannabis and these small steps are evidence of their tireless tenacity and dogged determination. If there are any news stories or particular topics that you’d like us to focus a blog on then please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

Written by Simpa for 


Simpa Carter
Simpa Carter

Simpa is a passionate drug law reform activist, mental health advocate, blogger, freelance writer, and host of The Simpa Life podcast.