The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been unprecedented both economically and socially. The full extent of the economic impact is still playing out and will not be known for some time, but data compiled by the National Audit Office suggest that central government Covid-19 programme costs were over £271billion (as of January 2021).
CBD has seen a steep rise in popularity in 2020 among consumers seeking to ease the stress caused by the Covid-19 crisis and this looks set to continue. Whilst suggestions abound that CBD could help cure Covid, could something such as CBD also aid the economy and provide jobs in this post-Covid world?
From researchers to farmers, field workers and lawyers, accountants and lab technicians… the UK could see a huge number of new jobs as a result of the cannabis industry. These will be wide-ranging roles of varying skill levels and provide positive impact across the whole economy. The need for such employment streams is significant given the context of the pandemic and the implications of Brexit.
As demand grows for reliable, high-quality pure CBD, countries around the world have invested heavily in the research and development of cannabis-based products to make legislation clearer and products more readily available. With some reports estimating that the UK’s market alone will be worth up to $1.29bn (£952m) by 2024, the CBD industry seems to be in a very favourable position following the Covid crisis.
One of the sticking points which could halt this economical boost is the uneven playing ground which the government forces CBD companies to operate in. Many synthetic producers of CBD are being given greater legislative freedom by the government than producers of natural plant-based CBD products. This unequal treatment of synthetically-sourced cannabidiol and natural extract is unfair given that the chemical composition is identical. Naturally-sourced CBD not only benefits the soil and aids biodiversity, but has potential for European farmers and SMEs. Such an approach is perhaps surprising in the context of the European Green Deal (the EU’s aim of making Europe climate neutral by 2050).
Natural CBD advocates are urging the government to redress the outdated political discourse which surrounds the botanical supplement CBD in order to fully realise the enormous potential.
We could see the UK emerging in 2021 as a global leader in the research and development of CBD products and with a level playing field, who knows how explosive the CBD industry could be? It could well be exactly what the economy needs in order to recover from a damaging health crisis which is still affecting us all. Let’s hope that the government can see it that way too.