Your Weekly Commercial Awareness Update – w/c 23rd July 2018

Your Weekly Commercial Awareness Update – w/c 23rd July 2018

Here are this week’s headlines, brought to you by our Student Commercial Awareness Team:

Medical cannabis to be made available on Prescription

Reported by Sarah Mullane

The United Kingdom has announced plans to relax laws regarding the use of cannabis for medical reasons. Under the proposed plans, specialised physicians will be able to prescribe medicinal marijuana for patients with an “exceptional clinical need,” possibly as soon as autumn.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the new rules would be written into Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (2002), which specifies the drugs which may be administered by doctors to patients. Until now, cannabis has been classified under Schedule 1 of this regulation, classified as a substance which is considered to not have any medicinal value, and could therefore only be used under licence for research purposes.

The relaxation of these laws follows reviews into the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Separate reviews by the chief medical officer for England, Sally Davies, and also the government’s official drug advisors both concluded that there was evidence to suggest that cannabis has therapeutic benefits for some medical conditions. These reviews came as a result of several high-profile cases in the UK involving the denial of cannabis oil to children with epileptic conditions.

Both Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley suffer from forms of intractable epilepsy, which appears to be eased by the use of medicinal marijuana. Billy’s mother, Charlotte, has spoken out in support of the decision, saying that “Billy can now live a normal life [..] because of the simple ability to now administer a couple of drops a day of [..] natural medication.”

Despite this change in the law, the government has been eager to emphasise that this will not lead to the complete legalisation of cannabis. Sajid Javid has publicly spoken out, stating that “this will help patients with an exceptional clinical need, but is in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.”

For more information, see here and here.

Michael Cohen claims Trump 'knew of Russian lawyer meeting'

Reported by Nathan Gore

In a major revelation, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer has stated that his client knew in advance of a June 2016 meeting between his aides, and a Russian delegation that offered to help his campaign.

Michael Cohen, former lawyer to Trump, claims that he was present when Mr Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, informed his father of the meeting. President Trump has always denied any advance knowledge of this meeting.

Cohen is apparently willing to state these claims to the special counsel investigation, led by Robert Mueller, although he doesn’t have any audio or video proof of this.

The meeting at Trump Tower in New York City involved Mr Trump’s son, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an influential Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and involved the promise of  “incriminating” material on Hillary Clinton – the Democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

Read more here.

Car-makers in US hit by tariff disputes

Reported by Dan James

Three of the major car manufacturers in the US have spoken out, stating that US trade policies are affecting business.

Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have all lowered their profit forecasts for 2018, outlining that higher aluminium and steel prices caused by US tariffs together with a slump in sales in China have all led to a decrease in profits over the past year.

Shares in all three companies reportedly dropped since the forecasts were lowered.

Mary Barra, Chief Executive of General Motors explained the company had been in constant contact with the White House with regards to how trade policies would affect its business.

The Trump administration is considering placing new tariffs on foreign vehicles and car parts. The EU, Canada and Mexico is set to hit back should these tariffs be implemented.

The proposal has also been met with widespread opposition within the US. Car workers held a rally against the tariffs, fearing their livelihoods would be at risk should they be implemented.

General Motors expressed worry that trade tensions between America and China could eventually put buyers in China off American brands. China is GM’s second biggest market after North America.

Fiat Chrysler executives aid that fixed price contracts have helped mitigate the effects of the increase in metal prices experienced in the US over the past year. However, they went on to outline that they would be hit by the effects of the price increases once such contracts come to an end.

Read more at the BBC.

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