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Exponential growth in medicinal cannabis use

Exponential growth in medicinal cannabis use

Friday 15 October 2021

Exponential growth in medicinal cannabis use


More than 3,000 medicinal cannabis licences have been granted to people in Guernsey and the list keeps growing.

Medicinal cannabis was legalised in 2019, however without any licensed clinicians on island to prescribe it, patients had to wait until a law change in 2020 that allowed UK clinicians to supply it.

Once a patient is prescribed medicinal cannabis, they are then granted a licence to import the drug. Through the various clinics that supply Guernsey it had been previously estimated that hundreds of people had received licences. 

Rule 14 question asked by Deputy Gavin St Pier have revealed that the number is far higher and is exponentially growing. In October 2020, in the first month after legalisation, there were 29 licences issued.

Just shy of one year later, that number is now 3,178.

Medicinal_Cannabis_Licences.png

Pictured: A month-by-month analysis of licences issues demonstrates the increasing supply and demand of legally prescribed cannabis. For those without a licence, possession of cannabis remains a criminal offence. 

The financial implications of this have also been laid bare, with the President of the Committee for Health and Social Care revealing how much it costs to process each application.

“While applications vary in complexity, the average cost of processing each application is estimated at £55,” said Deputy Al Brouard in response to Deputy St Pier.

That’s an estimated £174,790 spent by the States on processing medicinal cannabis licences in the last year.

Deputy Gavin St Pier

Pictured: Deputy St Pier published the answers to his questions on Twitter, suggesting that the resource implications were “interesting”.

HSC has also revealed that since October 2020, the granting of medicinal cannabis licences has been undertaken mainly by one member of staff. This person has received supported from two full time and one part time bank staff members.

Additionally, Guernsey’s Chief Pharmacist is committing 10-20 hours per week as the authoriser of licences and to communicate with patients, UK clinics, the Home Office and Guernsey Border Agency.

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