Post-Brexit labour shortages deal blow to UK cannabis production

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The company that owns the UK’s largest production base for cannabis for pharmaceuticals is calling for changes in immigration policy following a labor shortage after being excluded from the visa system for agricultural workers.

Peter Watson, agricultural director of British Sugar, who grows cannabis for epilepsy in Withington, Norfolk, raises the issue of recruitment. Seasonal agricultural workers’ plans..

Labor problems arise as investment in cannabis companies surges after several countries, including the United Kingdom, have legalized the use of medicines using extracts from plants.

The British Sugar business, which supplies ingredients for antiepileptic drugs approved by the US company Jazz Pharmaceuticals, is one of many agricultural businesses that have been locked out of seasonal workers’ plans because they do not grow food. It is one.

The· schemeStill a pilot, this year British farmers allowed as many as 30,000 workers from abroad to bring in for up to six months for harvesting. It aims to replace some of the foreign workforce that previously arrived under the EU’s free movement.

Watson said: “It’s a shame that there was a very difficult year due to the shortage of workers in the greenhouse.

“Our seasonal colleagues live in the field during the growing and harvesting seasons and have historically hired people from the UK and European countries,” he added. “This year’s restrictions on pilots meant we had a hard time hiring people.”

This year’s restrictions on pilots meant we had a hard time hiring people. “

He said British Sugar wanted the government to extend the plan to non-edible crops next year. “We want the government’s long-term commitment to treat labor demand for the cultivation of medicines the same as growing food,” he said.

Audrey Elliott, an employment and immigration partner at law firm Eversheds Sutherland, said the exclusion was for companies growing pharmaceutical plants and for researching new, more disease-resistant, or higher-yielding crops. He said he was hitting.

“The nature of this work often requires short periods of intensive work and on-site life, which may be unattractive or impossible for many,” Elliott said. I will.

British Sugar uses the heat and carbon dioxide produced by sugar production at its Wisington plant to grow cannabis in an 18-hectare greenhouse under an agreement with GW Pharmaceuticals. Purchased by Jazz Pharmaceuticals May.

Jazz is the only group operating on a commercial scale in the UK to provide licensed drugs, which are the most regulated part of the growing market to supply legal cannabis-related products. Plants are grown to have high levels of CBD compounds, which help control certain types of epilepsy.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals acknowledged the problem, but said it was still able to meet its obligation to supply the drug.

Chris Tovey, Chief Operating Officer of Jazz Pharmaceuticals in the United Kingdom, said:

Recommended MP in report Last week, the UK moved its medical cannabinoid license from the Interior Ministry to the Ministry of Health to drive sector growth [roughly] £ 1 billion pharmaceutical industry. “

United Kingdom exit From the EU Single Market and Customs Union on December 31, the end of the Brexit transition period, the farm relied on the EU’s free movement to bring in short-term workers.

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Under the new immigration system, which focuses on the acceptance of skilled and high-wage workers, agriculture is the only sector with plans to accept low-skilled workers. It aims to address the serious shortage of UK workers who are willing to undertake demanding, often low-paying jobs.

Flower grower has Said before They had to rot the flowers because of a labor shortage.

The Interior Ministry said the terms of the system would not change. “Currently, there are no plans to extend the range of seasonal worker pilots beyond horticulture, and employers should focus on training and investing in the domestic workforce rather than relying on foreign labor.” It was.

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