Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the UK Home Office, interested parties have applied for licences to cultivate cannabis on seven sites across the island.
Cannabis remains a controlled drug in Guernsey and its cultivation will be heavily regulated, but in July of this year an MOU was signed, and licensed businesses can now grow what’s called cannabis-based medicinal products.
It comes as medicinal cannabis prescriptions continue to boom in Guernsey, with hundreds of people being prescribed herbal cannabis every month from UK Doctors.
Seven site applications for cultivation have since been received.
“The new cannabis licencing system has been welcomed by the industry and I’m pleased to see that the changes the Health and Social Care team have implemented have already attracted seven applications,” said the President of the Committee for Health and Social Care, Deputy Al Brouard.
“Each will now be thoroughly assessed by the BGCA alongside the Home Office and I look forward to seeing the first licences issued to those that are successful.”
Pictured: Cultivation of cannabis in Guernsey remains illegal without a licence.
The Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency has been established to regulate the industry and grant any licences. Any prospective cultivator can find the application process ONLINE.
“It is highly encouraging to see such a positive response from businesses in just a few months since the MoU was signed,” said President of the Committee for Economic Development, Deputy Neil Inder.
“These are the early steps of a promising new sector for the Bailiwick, one which is already attracting interest and investment locally and from overseas.”
Pictured: “Guernsey is now well placed to remain at the forefront of the cannabis industry, and we will continue to support its development,” said Deputy Neil Inder.
Express spoke to the CEO and founder of House of Green, which has applied for multiple licences.
“We’ve actually got three applications in because we have to apply on a site-by-site basis – we’ve got two cultivation sites and an extraction facility," said Paul Smith.
“We were pretty well prepared because we started from day one thinking we were heading towards medical cannabis – everything we put in place was in mind for a drive to medical cannabis."
Mr Smith said he doesn't know how long the process is going to take, but said it'll involve a visit from UK officials and the granting of the licence could be some months yet.
“We don’t really [have an idea of how long the process will take] and that’s the difficult part for all of us unfortunately, and to be fair to the States of Guernsey it’s difficult for them as well because in line with the signing of the MOU the Home Office are involved with site inspections and validations," he said.
Pictured: "Now it’s a case of getting the UK Home Office over to do site visits and meet with the applicants before they can move to the next stage," said Mr Smith, who expects his first site visit to be in early October.
The ability to grant licences to on-island cultivators has been celebrated as a positive economic step that keeps us in line with a booming medicinal cannabis market.
“It was vital and something we’ve been preparing for, for a long time, and we’re really please that the States managed to put adequate resources to it at the beginning of this year to get the MOU signed – it certainly puts Guernsey up there on a level footing with Jersey and other jurisdictions," said Mr Smith.
In its future form a licences cultivator can expect spot checks from the BGCA to make sure it sticks within legal parameters.
Mr Smith also represents the Channel Islands Cannabis Industry Association - a group formed to support the industry - as its Chairman.
"I am delighted to say that we already have 11 full members representing over 80% of the licensed cannabis businesses across Alderney and Guernsey," he added.
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