UK canna-business is booming!

Liz Filmer
27 Jul 2021

The UK is becoming the top destination for private, and public cannabis investments as multinational companies enter the sector and the London Stock Exchange opens up for cannabis startups. 

Leading European cannabis consultancy Hanway associates have analysed the European cannabis investment sector and found that cannabis investment in Europe totals over 1.2 billion euros. More than 20% of which has been raised during the first half of 2021. If it continues at its current rate, fundraising could exceed a record 350 million Euros by the end of 2021.

London specifically is fast becoming a cannabis investment hub. This year over 42 million euros has been raised through private transactions, and 53 million euros worth of investment has been raised on the London Stock Exchange.

GW Pharmaceuticals is a world leader in cannabis-based medicines and the first European cannabis company to float on the London stock market back in 2001. The company has just been acquired for 7.6 billion dollars in 2021 and set the benchmark for European cannabis sector acquisitions.

There has been a massive influx of companies listing on the London stock exchange following an announcement by the UK Financial Conduct Authority allowing cannabis companies to list. A move that has further established London as the hub of the cannabis business sector.

European investors are beginning to recognise the lucrative potential of cannabis as a health and wellness product. Investments in health care dominate the market with a 50.8% share. This is followed closely by wellness companies, primarily made up of CBD brands at 39.3%. Industrial hemp and adult-use make up the remainder of the market at 7.4% and 2.5%, respectively.

The UK is home to the biggest CBD market in Europe thanks to our regulatory clarity, which attracts high profile investors. Celebrity investors are now a common feature of European cannabis startups. 'Love Hemp' boast British boxer Anthony Joshua, as a shareholder and raised €8.18 million through public markets and private placements. Germany-based pharma company' Sanity Group' raised capital from famous figures, including musician, model Stefanie Giesinger, actress Alyssa Milano, and several top-flight German footballers.

In February 2021, the David Beckham-backed' Cellular Goods' manufacturers of synthetic CBD consumer products saw their stock value rocket by 470% on their London Stock Exchange debut. This raised the companies market capitalisation to over £100 million.

"A growing number of cannabis-related companies are choosing London Stock Exchange to continue their growth journey, and we expect this pipeline to remain active." Marcus Stuttard, Head of UK Primary Markets and AIM, at London Stock Exchange.

With the cannabis business space growing as an attractive option for big investors and the super-rich, will this affect the UK laws that prevent the everyday man on the street from benefitting from cannabis? Be that financially, medicinally or recreationally. I want to say yes, but somehow I can't see it. 

Whilst it is good for the UK economy, statistics like these only show the system's hypocrisy, as some continue to profit heavily from a product that is outlawed for others.

Liz Filmer