British taxpayers are now shareholders in cannabis oil firm

British taxpayers

The UK government funding rescue scheme set up during Covid-19 has meant that British taxpayers are now shareholders in a medicinal cannabis firm.

Along with 65 other companies including a video game studio and a chain of bars the UK state now holds shares in Avida Global limited.

Avida Global limited, which is chaired by Benjamin Mancroft, a member of the House of Lords since 1988, is a producer of medicinal cannabis oils.

The company opened in 2018 and cultivates the cannabis from a farm in Colombia.

Medicinal cannabis was made legal in the UK in November 2018 but is still not prescribed often to patients. Generally patients that suffer from epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or those suffering from the effects of chemotherapy are the most likely to be prescribed cannabis.

The investment comes from the Future Fund, cash that was set aside by then Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help firms during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It has provided £1.14bn worth of funding and has helped support 1,190 companies since its inception.

This isn’t the first time the fund has been used to help a cannabis firm with previous releases by the British Business Bank showing investment in Grass & Co.

Grass & Co produce cannabidiol available throughout the UK and Ireland with their products available from Holland & Barrett as well as Selfridges.

Approximately a third of the companies that have received funding have converted their loans to equity meaning British taxpayers has equity in over 400 companies including those involved in the cannabis industry.

Some of the other businesses that have received funding include a sex planning party company and the football club Bolton Wanderers.