British Sugar to grow cannabis for GW Pharma

GW Pharmaceuticals, the British developer of a CBD-based anti-seizure medicine that could be on American shelves in 2018, has contracted Britain’s leading sugar supplier to grow its medical cannabis.

British Sugar, the top beet sugar supplier in the UK, will grow the cannabis in an 18-hectare greenhouse in eastern England, where the company now grows tomatoes, according to The Telegraph.

It’s an important advance for the cannabis industry to have yet another major mainstream company enter the sector.

British Sugar plans to plant the first seedlings in January and to have the first harvest in April. After the plants are picked, they will be packaged in bales on site and shipped to GW Pharma, The Telegraph said.

“Our glasshouse is very well-suited for growing that particular variety of the cannabis plant family and it’s fair to say that the return will be better than on tomatoes. We’re confident of decent yields,” Paul Kenward, managing partner of British Sugar, told The Telegraph.

A subsidiary of Associated British Foods, British Sugar already has invested in lights and shading equipment for its new grow operation, while GW Pharma is expanding its American marketing and sales teams in anticipation of the approval of its anti-seizure drug, Epidiolex.

GW Pharma expects to file a marketing application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the first half of 2017 to sell Epidiolex in the United States.

Last month, the company took a major step toward achieving that goal, saying the CBD-based drug significantly reduced seizures in children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome – a rare and hard-to-treat form of epilepsy – during phase 3 FDA-approved trials.