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London Tech Week

Grow Lab Organics raises £1M and launches Europe’s first community-owned cannabis business

Grow Lab Organics team
Photo credits: Grow Lab Organics

Medicinal cannabis was legalised in the UK in late 2018, but to date there has been limited choice, inconsistent quality and expensive prescriptions. As a resume, many go back to the illicit market, risking criminalisation and discrimination. Reportedly, around 1.8 million people in the UK are using cannabis sourced from the illicit market to treat medical conditions.

Headquartered in Isle of Man, Grow Lab Organics (GLO), a British cannabis startup is focused on enabling patients to live better lives through the power of cannabis. In a recent development, the company has picked up £1 million in seed funding. The investment round saw participation from Saul Milton (Chase & Status) and Mark Wilkinson. 

First European community-owned medical cannabis producer

With the first commercial cannabis licence on the island, and one of the first in the UK, GLO has also announced the launch of a community offer and becomes the first community-owned medicinal cannabis producer in Europe, enabling patients to live better lives through the power of cannabis.

Partnering with Cancard, the largest cannabis patient group in Europe, GLO is committed to producing the highest quality products using its craft organic growing methods at scale. Carly Barton, the founder of medical ID card Cancard and the first person in the UK to receive a medicinal cannabis prescription, joined the Board as Chief Community Officer. In addition, Dr Leon Barron, Chair of The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society and Founder of The Primary Care Cannabis Network will also join the Board as Chief Medical Officer.  

Carly Barton said, “Since medicinal cannabis was legalised five years ago, patients have continued to struggle to obtain quality products through the legal market. Not only is the calibre often very hit and miss, there are also only a handful of strains to choose from; which don’t suit everyone. However, access to this medication is life changing and essential to over a million people in the UK today. By opening equity and a seat at the table to the community, GLO is truly democratising a space that was unreachable for many.”

Saul Milton said, “As a medicinal cannabis patient and Cancard holder myself, I understand the challenges many in the community face every day. To date the legal market has been predominantly dominated by large players focused on making money rather than serving patients. GLO is doing something totally different, bringing together medical experts, scientists, the legacy market and patients in a model that is designed to enable the community to have safe and secure access to quality medicine whilst also furthering medical understanding of the capabilities of this plant. GLO will benefit all its stakeholders and that is why I am so excited to be involved in this project.”

Commenting on the raise, CEO Alex Fray said, “Medicinal cannabis has attracted a huge amount of investor interest in recent years as the sector develops rapidly. When we began the GLO journey, we recognised the importance of having investors who share our vision and values. We are committed to enabling the medicinal cannabis community, who sit at the heart of what we do, to have a voice and share in the opportunity as we begin to build our facility. Together with our proprietary technology, this collaboration provides a huge opportunity to open source learning that can be shared with patients and doctors, building further evidence for therapeutic value and making new discoveries.” 

Unleashes power of cannabis 

Founded by serial entrepreneurs Alex Fray, Charlie Price and Charlie Lyons in 2019, GLO brings together experts in the fields of cannabis, agriculture, design, technology and compliance to cultivate a natural, quality product while improving the access and choice of cannabis available to patients. 

The company has a licenced facility on the Isle of Man, an island with a rich history of farming and agriculture. It is the only nation to be designated a UNESCO Biosphere in its entirety, aligning with GLO’s commitment to the environment and sustainability. At full capacity, the facility operates 22 separate 200m2 flower rooms and six drying rooms, producing over 20 unique strains each year. Heat, energy and water are all recovered and recycled within the facility and even the plant stalks are turned into the product packaging. 

GLO has built proprietary supply chain technology that will enable complete transparency for patients on how each plant has been grown and processed. This technology will also enable a feedback loop, providing unique insight for the wider medical community including the NHS on the impact of different strains on symptoms and conditions.

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