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CambridgeHOK has teamed up with real estate giant Savills and leading cannabis consultancy Hanway Associates to help investors enter the 'potentially lucrative and high-growth' medical cannabis production and export market.
CROP17 will offer a turnkey, end-to-end solution for those keen to capitalise on the 'enormous growth potential' of the medical cannabis market, which can offer much more lucrative margins per gram for British farmers than traditional crops such as strawberries.
Collectively, the expertise of the three specialist businesses can vastly improve the feasibility of businesses looking to become medical cannabis cultivators in the UK.
Crop17 will offer advice for growers on how to find the best land, sourcing equipment and navigating the legal minefield associated with the industry.
As part of the partnership, Savills, a global real estate services provider listed on the London Stock Exchange, will help identify potential sites for investment for cannabis ventures.
Hanway Associates, the leading cannabis strategic consultancy, will provide specific geographical information about potential cultivation sites, alongside regulatory and operational consultancy, in order to advise on investment decision making.
CambridgeHOK will bring its expertise in building and developing the most sophisticated commercial glasshouses and indoor growing environments to the table, with our team including senior figures who have already converted a number of agricultural sites into cannabis cultivation facilities.
Legal cannabis industry predicted to grow to around £35bn by 2024
Although cannabis is illegal in Britain, several countries and states across the world have legalised it in recent years, leading to a boom in exports from the UK.
BDS Analytics, which produces the leading cannabis industry market trends reports, has forecast that the worldwide legal cannabis industry generated revenues, which were in the region of £11.5bn in 2019, are expected to grow to around £35bn by 2024.
The total number of medical cannabis prescriptions issued in the UK could surge from a few hundred in 2019 to more than 185,000 by the end of 2023 if the country follows a similar path to Australia, whose medical cannabis programme has grown rapidly since the government relaxed restrictions in 2018.
Steve Hinch, Finance Director at CambridgeHOK, says the Crop17 partnership offers a 'truly unique offering'.
"We see the medical cannabis sector as a high potential growth area offering attractive returns for our customer base," he said.
"Alongside working with best in class partners in Hanway Associates and Savills, we have strengthened our management team to be able to build operational insight into our extensive history of building glasshouses and controlled environment, indoor growing facilities.
"We believe this collaboration offers a truly unique offering to the market place giving growers and investors a lower risk market entry."
George McBride, Co-Founder of Hanway Associates, says the approach will help investors and companies clear the 'extensive barriers' currently in place which prevent many successfully entering the market.
"Growing cannabis legally in the UK is difficult, but far from impossible. Extensive barriers to entry guard lucrative opportunities in the nascent medical cannabis industry," he said.
"Crop17 greatly reduces the risks involved in developing a commercial cultivation operation. Only 20 high-THC cannabis cultivation active licences were issued to companies between October 2018 and 2019."
Alex Bragg, Director at Savills, says the solution is perfect for 'innovative farmers' who are prepared to adapt.
He said: "The UK agriculture sector is embarking upon a period of unprecedented change. A phasing out of subsidies, a new dawn for trade, adapting to meet climate change targets and a huge growth in agtech presents the industry with huge challenges and opportunities.
"For the forward thinking and innovative farmer and grower adapting into new markets is a key priority. This turnkey solution is the type of innovation we expect to see more of within UK agriculture."