Maple Tree is an ethical consultancy created to transform the emerging CBD and medical cannabis industry, by providing unique expertise, strategy development and leadership for a range of businesses entering and maturing in this exciting sector

Describe your business model and its USP?

Made up of myself and leading cannabis expert Mike Barnes, Maple Tree Consultancy provides strategy and development expertise to a range of cannabis businesses entering this exciting sector in the UK. Mike and I have been working together for many years, having met during my journey fighting for my son Alfie Dingley's access to a medical cannabis licence and, following that, an NHS prescription. I believe our USP is our extensive, in-depth experience of the industry, which is quite rare given its relative youth.

Who are you hoping to target?

We work predominantly with medical cannabis and high-quality CBD companies in the wellness market, advising them on how to get into the cannabis space and effectively market and sell their products.

How did you come to set up Maple Tree Consultancy?

Mike is a clinical neurologist and has been working with cannabis for over 20 years. As a leading expert in the field, he worked to develop the first cannabis medicine, Sativex, then wrote a report on evidence for medical cannabis for the Drug Policy Reform APPG. My journey up until that point had been very different. After working as a hairdresser and travel marketeer, I had to become a full time carer when my son Alfie was born with severe epilepsy. Whilst campaigning for him to receive access to life-saving medical cannabis, I met Mike who then helped us to successfully apply for the licence. These experiences ignited a passion in us both to support the UK cannabis industry to grow and to move away from dependence on imports. With Mike's extensive knowledge of cannabis and mine of the legal system surrounding it, we knew our combined skills would be a great combination to form a consultancy.

What challenges do you face?

The cannabis industry faces many challenges and it is our role as consultants to help businesses overcome these. In terms of the medical cannabis industry, current government restrictions are still making it difficult for firms to gain licences to grow cannabis and a lack of training is preventing medical professionals from prescribing cannabis medicines. We lobby against these blockades, but also know how firms can legally get around them.

What is your hope and vision for the medical cannabis industry over the next 5-10 years?

I would like to see all patients who wish to access MC have it available to them. As it stands, there is so much confusion for patients as to what is legal and what should be able to be accessed on the NHS. The UK government are not making it easy to access licences to grow medical cannabis for example, and we hope these blockages will ease soon. I also hope to see the development of UK cannabis growers and extractors, which Maple can guide and foster. There is still time to shape this exciting new industry in the UK and I, for one, am truly excited to be part of a business community that seeks to drive change.

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