It has been claimed that “Guernsey is the only jurisdiction in the entire world in which it is perfectly legal to sell products that contain levels of THC products to children of all ages,” in a letter sent to all deputies.
Gary Tucker is the Chief Operations Officer for the House of Green Limited, one of the biggest players in Guernsey’s continually stalling cannabis industry. He has penned a highly critical letter of the island’s current approach to cannabis regulation.
It was triggered by multiple factors, including a difficulty exporting their product off island, but most recently by the recalling of a certain batch of Mule gummies. A CBD product in which Bailiwick Law Enforcement said they found a class A drug.
“The recent handling of the situation regarding the sale of CBD gummies in Guernsey appears to suggest that the lawmakers and their enforcement agents do not fully understand the ramifications that their law has on Guernsey, and how the industry has been effectively left to regulate itself,” said Mr Tucker.
He refers in his letter to the 1997 Misuse of Drugs Ordinance, which has been updated to include preparation exemptions that make some cannabidiol products exempt from ‘Controlled Status’.
Pictured: The relevant amended legislation Mr Tucker refers to.
Mr Tucker continued: “What we currently have is a law that makes certain products exempt and, as you can see from that law, it allows for products with THC and CBN to exist in small amounts.
“Nothing in the law prohibits the sale to children. Do let that last statement sink in a bit. Guernsey is the only jurisdiction in the entire world in which it is perfectly legal to sell products that contain levels of THC products to children of all ages.”
He argues that the industry is essentially “self-regulating” and Guernsey has failed in creating a “Safe Market”.
“When Guernsey changed its laws to permit cannabis products, it did not create a Safe Market for Safe Access, it created a dirty market with no framework and no rules,” said Mr Tucker.
When Guernsey signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UK Home Office - to allow for a critical cannabis licensing and regulatory regime to be set up - many in the industry saw it as the beginning of a bright path: the road to full legalisation.
Guernsey appeared to be ahead of the game. The island could capitalise on an inevitable industry.
However, a clause in the MoU meant exporting product off-island became time-consuming and, in some cases, impossible, leading to a crisis earlier this year when the House of Green (THOG) had to stop accepting product grown on island.
THOG has since reverted to simply buying in and selling Mule gummies.
Pictured: During a drug amnesty almost 100 CBD gummies were handed into the police.
Last month Bailiwick Law Enforcement published a statement regarding one batch of Mule gummies: "Because of the potential health risks they pose, and because of the high content of illicit cannabinoids, islanders should not consume or retain possession of these products."
Mr Tucker said BLE classing the batch as a Class A was a “scare tactic”.
“When looking at the ingredients of the product, which are clearly printed on the box, as required by Guernsey law, the product is made from hemp oil extract, which is form of cannabis resin that has been purified through some form of filtration.
“The CBN found in this product should therefore be considered to be cannabis resin by definition… I would therefore challenge the statement that these are a class A drug, and even if they did indeed test over the limit, they should actually be considered a Class B at most.
“Once again, it would appear that, despite many political statements to the contrary, Guernsey is not in favour of supporting or understanding this industry, and the public humiliation of a business having to go through a product surrender and the lack of any effort to assist in the establishment of a viable industry would appear to support this view.”
When asked, Bailiwick Law Enforcement said it stands behind its original classification.
Pictured: The CEO of THOG, Paul Smith, said: "If Guernsey doesn't act now, no more cannabis companies will come to Guernsey."
Mr Tucker is concerned that Guernsey’s approach to cannabis regulation is actually going backwards and says it could lead to the island losing its advantage in any future market.
“Guernsey has already inadvertently shut down most of the cannabis industry with its policies and actions all based on the interpretation of a single law, as nothing else exists,” he said.
“So far, three Guernsey cannabis companies have folded their operations this year, another six growers will most likely not renew their licenses, and we as a company are heavily debating leaving Guernsey as there is no clear commercial advantage to Guernsey, only a commercial disadvantage.
“It is very obvious to see that in the current laws and regime, Guernsey will NOT benefit from the cannabis industry, but more and more jurisdictions WILL do so.”
Pictured: More than 5,000 medicinal cannabis licences have been granted since people were able to be prescribed it.
Mr Tucker argues that changes to regulation to ease the situation should be driven by the Committee for Economic Development.
“Maybe it even starts with Policy & Resources, which could shape a new Ordinance, policy/resource that creates a regulatory body that is adequately resourced and falls under the remit of Economic Development,” he said.
“This regulatory body would then be bound by law to create a Safe Market that promotes Safe Access that also incorporates programs for education and support for anyone suffering from substance abuse, which is not ever going to stop, so why not put in a mechanism that properly funds it for once?”
The CEO of THOG, Paul Smith, said the biggest hurdle to overcome on this journey is “this taboo about cannabis”.
“There’s a lack of willingness to change views, while there’s a real public swing to accept cannabis as a good product.”
He argues that to save the industry, change needs to happen immediately.
Express has reached out to the States of Guernsey to see if they want to respond to Mr Tucker’s letter and claims.
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