Businesses can now apply for a licence to grow 'medicinal' cannabis in the Bailiwick, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK Home Office.
With the MoU now in place, any companies that secure a licence will be able to cultivate cannabis plants with high THC content, which goes significantly further than the current limits on the processing of CBD products only.
Cannabis remains a controlled drug and its possession and production remains unlawful for anyone without a licence.
“Guernsey was one of the first to recognise the potential benefits that cannabis based products medicinal might bring," said Health & Social Care President Al Brouard, announcing the MoU.
"It marks the start of a process that may allow these products to be produced on island for the benefit of patients within the Bailiwick and overseas. The creation of the Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency further enhances our robust regulatory system for cannabis cultivation.”
Pictured: Economic Development wants to reap the rewards of a budding medicinal cannabis sector - however a feud broke out in the States earlier this year over whether or not this conflicts with Guernsey's criminalisation of personal use.
Economic Development President Neil Inder says there is an opportunity to set up a regulatory and licensing framework "that protects our reputation", while enabling innovation and tapping into a potentially lucrative market.
“Growers once moved into finance and now finance is moving into growing. The Committee will continue to support the opportunities available in the pharmaceutical industry and I'm very grateful for the effort all parties have made to deliver the long-awaited MoU.”
In the States recently, Deputy Peter Roffey questioned its compatibility with the island's legal framework for illegal substances.
"For Guernsey to do that on a corporate basis, while at the same time maintaining some of the strictest rules anywhere in Europe on the personal use of cannabis, is maybe as hypocritical as Saudi Arabia hosting an international distillery while maintaining its own domestic regime."
Deputy Inder responded: "Continually connecting recreational use of cannabis with the very serious businesses of medicinal cannabis just really doesn’t help. He must really disconnect the two issues of legalising cannabis, and the power and value to the economy of medicinal cannabis."
Pictured: Paul Smith is the Chair of the Channel Islands Cannabis Industry Association and the CEO of The House of Green.
The recently-formed Channel Islands Cannabis Industry Association welcomed the news that the MoU has been signed.
“This is a significant milestone and puts Guernsey on a level footing with both Jersey and the Isle of Man," said its Chair, Paul Smith, who is also the CEO of cannabis company The House of Green.
"Guernsey businesses will now be able to expand into the medical cannabis sector and we are aware that some of our members have already submitted applications for medical cannabis licences.
“The CICIA will work closely with the Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency to ensure that the cannabis licensing regime is robust and proportionate so that Guernsey can position itself as a centre of excellence for the cannabis industry.”
4C Labs, which originates from Canada, has already announced its intention to submit an application to cultivate cannabis locally.
Watch: 4C Labs CEO Greg Dobbin at a recent webinar introducing the company's plans in Guernsey.
“We are delighted that the MOU has now been signed and a legal framework exists for a real and very profitable medical cannabis industry in Guernsey," said CEO Greg Dobbin.
"Today is the day that should be remembered for years to come as when the industry was born here. It should be noted that without the efforts of many political members and civil servants, plus the expertise and support of industry experts including those at 4C Labs, this would not have been achieved.
"We are ready to push forward now and will work closely with the relevant bodies to ensure we meet the criteria set out in the framework.”
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