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UK Cannabis Industry

29 August 2019

The global focus on cannabis provides significant opportunities across multiple sectors, including health & wellness, food & additives, medicine, agriculture and even tourism.

Such opportunities can, however, come with regulatory and other legal constraints. CMS has specialists who have considered all aspects of the law relating to the use of cannabis and cannabis extracts for medicinal, industrial and recreational purposes.

We have a dedicated focus group looking at cannabis, which is part of our life sciences and healthcare sector. This group is co-ordinated across the CMS network of 72 offices globally, even extending to Colombia where much cannabis cultivation now takes place.

Our areas of expertise include:


The team are highly experienced on environmental licencing and permitting, liability, risk transfer and compliance issues, in respect of emissions and pollution events and the regulation of cannabis growth and supply in the UK.


We work closely with the disputes team to advise on the Proceeds of Crime Act, regulatory and environmental risks related to loans and cannabis-related investments in the UK or overseas.

Food & Drink

Our team has extensive experience providing compliance advice regarding hemp plant derived foods and food supplements at all stages of the supply chain, including in respect of food safety and hygiene, product formulation, food information and labelling requirements, food contact materials legislation, and marketing and health and nutrition claims.

Intellectual Property 

The team provide advice on the various types of exclusive rights available to those innovating in the medicinal, recreational and industrial cannabis space. We have provided advice to a range of clients on the grant of patents across Europe relating to cannabis extracts and dried inflorescences from cannabis strains with surprising and unexpected properties. We have patent attorneys with specific scientific expertise in plants, having PhDs in plant genetics and biochemistry, as well as with legal expertise in the patentability and protection issues that are specific to plants and plant varieties.


The team regularly assists clients assess their licensing and regulatory obligations and to conduct appropriate due diligence prior to investments in cannabis businesses. We regularly provide advice on the regulatory and commercial implications arising from the re-scheduling of cannabis based medicinal products in the UK, applying our significant existing experience and expertise on the regulatory regimes applicable to medicines, food supplements and cosmetic products to cannabis and cannabis-derived products.


Our team advises on a range of different transactions relating to the cultivation, distribution, importation and commercialisation of cannabis as well as investment and M&A deals for both investors and investors into research companies, retailers and technology businesses focused on the sector.

We understand the general regulatory environment around cannabis based-products and the various types of exclusive rights available to those innovating in the medicinal, recreational and industrial cannabis space.

For further information on our work, please download our cannabis credentials below.

UK Cannabis Industry 2020
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