Scotland's first medical cannabis production facility has secured £2 million of investment in a bid to become one of the largest producers in the UK.

Hilltop Leaf founders Hamish Clegg, Neil Ewart and Will Ewart have secured the money from UK investment house Traditum and a number of private investors. The equity injection will allow the company to achieve first commercial sales and scale up its infrastructure for the specialist prescription market.

Hilltop Leaf – which holds a manufacturers "specials" licence and wholesaler dealer authorisation from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency – has already completed construction of an 11,000sq m production facility in southern Scotland. The company intends to produce pharmaceutical-grade cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans (CBPMs) which will ultimately be processed on site.

HeraldScotland:

The founders say the facility will have the potential to supply more than 10 per cent of the UK market, creating dozens of local jobs.

"We are building a business around the three key pillars of health innovation, environmental sustainability, and community impact," said Mr Clegg, the company's chief executive. "Although medicinal cannabis use is growing, the UK relies solely on imports and we understand there is a problem with the reliability of the supply chain.

“We aim to provide an affordable, high-quality solution to treat conditions ranging from chronic pain to severe epilepsy, while easing pressure on the NHS. We plan to rival other countries such as Canada, Germany and Israel with our own reliable supply from the hills of Scotland.”

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The company was set up in 2019 by Mr Clegg, a former financier and serial entrepreneur, with father and son Neil and Will Ewart who have a track record in windfarms and agriculture. The company has a research partnership with Nottingham Trent University which specialises in testing and clinical trials.

An estimated 1.8 million people in the UK use "black market" cannabis to treat medical conditions, according to the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis. Medicinal cannabis was legalised in 2018 and is now used by more than 20,000 patients in the UK, with uptake expected to grow rapidly.

HeraldScotland:

Tom Hurley, investment director with Traditum, said: “Hilltop Leaf is Traditum’s third healthtech deal in six months and will add further strength to our growing portfolio. We believe cannabis has the potential to offer new and better treatments for some conditions and provide an alternative to opioids for pain relief.

“We have been impressed by the strength of the company’s management team, their fastidious approach to quality and their vision to create a purpose-built facility backed by research and development. Hilltop Leaf has the chance to gain an early mover advantage and become a clear leader in the UK’s emerging medicinal cannabis industry.”