Sam Cannon is the International Liaison Officer for the Cannabis Industry Council, and founder of Beyond Green, a global impact shared wealth social enterprise focusing on solutions to solve the United Nations Global Goals.
We spoke over Zoom last week.
Was there one defining moment that made you commit to creating change around hemp in the UK or was it a gradual process?
I’ve always been an advocate since a young adult, but only realised the MASSIVE positive impact Hemp can have on the planet and humans when I started deep diving back end of 2014. There have been a number of defining moments as I learnt more and more about the plant and its history. The real kick up the arse to do something meaningful came from a series of events that started at Product Earth Expo in August 2019, a trip to California in October 2019, and the pandemic changing the course of history in February 2020. If it wasn’t for those three things happening, I don’t think I would be doing half of what I’m am doing today.
You've recently come back from Glasgow where you were promoting Beyond Green at COP26 - could you tell us more about this and what the conversations were about?
We actually created a Cop26 fringe festival called Beyond the Green, which was a three day event focusing on Hemp as a solution to combat climate change, including live music artists, DJs, guest speakers and a hemp market.
Cop26 is the United Nations Climate Change Summit that was held in Glasgow last month. Panels included an introduction to the most misunderstood plant in the world, how to avoid a climate crisis and how Hemp can solve the United Nations Global Goals.
We also partnered with The Fratellis, a well known Scottish band, to make them climate positive by offsetting the carbon footprint of their touring with Hemp carbon credits.
So few farms are growing hemp in the UK, mainly because of the bureaucratic nightmare involved with getting a licence - why is the process so complex?
Out of date legislation, the wrong people in place to make the right decisions quickly, lack of education, lingering stigma, and let’s face it, the Hemp industry is about to disrupt every industry on the planet and people are scared of change. Hemp will impact everyone for the better, but it is going to change a lot for big business and investors and that takes time and a lot of convincing. I do believe though we are at the cusp of the wave, about to have one hell of a ride.
You co-authored the UK's first Hemp Manifesto. Can you tell us a little about what is in it and what the plan is for enforcing policy change?
That was actually a few years back now. Where does time go! More recently myself and Rebecca Shaman from the British Hemp Alliance and Kyle Esplin from the Scottish Hemp Association contributed to the white paper handed to the UK government by Maple Tree Consultants and Mackerel Solicitors with ten recommendations that should be implemented if the UK is to avoid missing out on the commercial, industrial and environmental benefits of a thriving Hemp and medical cannabis industry.
This includes removing Industrial Hemp from the Home Office and putting it into DEFRA as an agricultural crop, raising the THC limit of Industrial Hemp to initially 0.3% (which has actually just happened in Europe), and allow the cultivation of Hemp flower here in the UK (currently UK farmers have to destroy the flower which is another revenue stream for them for CBD products. A recent study valued the UK CBD market at £600m and growing exponentially year on year).
How have conversations been with parliament, and have any high profile meetings taken place discussing hemp?
There are constant conversations and meetings happening with various politicians discussing Hemp and cannabis. I personally had a call with Michael Gove with one of his constituents Mandi Tuzz last year, and he was wowed by the environmental benefits of Hemp and its carbon sequestration properties. Hemp is our number one natural resource to combat climate change, and ticks every one of the United Nations Global Goals. As soon as Boris Johnson gets the memo with a financial number attached delivering solutions to net zero, boosting the economy, avoiding a recession, creating jobs, and assisting developing countries tackle climate change, poverty and hunger, it becomes a win win win for all. What are you waiting for Boris!
What's next for Beyond Green?
Beyond Green has partnered with Future for Humanity Foundation in the USA. We are currently putting a roadmap of events together that include sporting events and music festivals, to showcase solutions to the global goals by adding a bit of rock and roll in the mix.
First stop tours across Europe next summer on an electric tour bus, and yacht jam parties at private islands.
Day to day attire?
Shirt, shorts and flipflops everyday if I could. I miss living in a hot country! For now, big baggy hoodies and tracksuit bottoms when working from home! Any now of course my wonderful Babble & Hemp shirt for the next visit to the pub!
Tottenham Hotspurs, but to be honest we have been such a mess recently I have lost interest. Let’s hope Conte is the manager we have all been waiting for, and soon realise the best thing we can do it get rid of Daniel Levi.
I’m gonna promote myself a bit here. In my other life I’m actually a DJ that has toured with Formula E for the last 7 years, the electric motorsport championship. EJ Radio is available on various streaming services. You can grab the link from my bio on Instagram by searching @formulaej. There are a bunch of shows that pretty much map out my life in music and events for the last 5 years. Next year EJ will be performing at the roadmap of events we have focused on that contribute to the global goals. Bring on the Yacht Jams!
Thank you, Sam!