London — Canopy Growth has joined forces with a UK researcher of cannabis-based therapies after the British government moved to liberalise the use of medical marijuana.

The new company, formed with Beckley Canopy Therapeutics, aims to make products available in Britain from early 2019. 

The government made it legal last November for specialist doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for patients with severe clinical need. The decision came after studies showed that it could benefit children with conditions such as severe epilepsy, although the government said it was not a step toward legalising cannabis for recreational use.

“We are witnessing the birth of the UK medical cannabis industry, an industry borne out of the unmet clinical needs of patients across the country,” said Marc Wayne, co-managing director of the venture, called Spectrum Biomedical UK.

The partnership “is testament to the importance of the opportunity to help patients access the medicine here in the UK,” he said.

The venture was created after Canopy, a Canadian giant of the cannabis industry, announced planned clinical trials of marijuana-based drugs in the UK in 2018. The company and its investors said they put £7.4-million into testing products for treatment of pain and opioid dependence.