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Channel Islands told they have six months to lead cannabis industry

Channel Islands told they have six months to lead cannabis industry

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Channel Islands told they have six months to lead cannabis industry


Guernsey and Jersey have been warned that they have a six-month window to finalise plans for a lucrative high-end cannabis industry before other places in the world catch up.

Speaking at the annual Jersey Farming Conference, Nick Morland, who chairs the island's Cannabis Services Advisory Board, said "it would be a bit like not signing the Beatles" to miss the opportunity now available to be world leaders in what is expected to be a rapidly growing industry in the years ahead.

"I can see the industry here as being as big as financial services, but the clock is ticking," said Mr Morland. "Jersey is 90% of the way there. It just needs to complete the final 10%, which is mainly around compliance."

Paul Smith, Group Chief Executive of The House of Green, told Express that Guernsey was in a similar position. The House of Green is a company based in Guernsey which cultivates and develops cannabis-based products.

"We do really need to get on with it now. As an island we need to be much more assertive out there and say 'yes, we’re here'," said Mr Smith.

"We need a final push from the government here to make sure everything runs smoothly and they aid the industry rather than simply regulating it."

Mr Morland also leads Tenacious Labs, a cannabinoids business based in London and Miami which is in the process of moving its head office to Jersey. 

He said Jersey’s laws and regulations allowing the cultivation and production of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is the non-psychotic component of cannabis, are “as good as I have ever seen".

He highlighted Jersey’s decision to amend its proceeds of crime law to allow CBD to be extracted, which he said had made the island a world leader. 

“Jersey has a genuine competitive advantage right now," said Mr Morland.

"It has everything to play for. It has the only government which has been prepared to make the first move and that has been noted in conversations I’ve had with senior officials in Westminster and Washington.

“Soon, CBD products will be ubiquitous – people will use it like they have a gin and tonic at the end of the day. There are currently 460 million CBD users and that number is only going to grow, so this isn’t a short-term bubble.”

Mr Morland said that New York looked likely to change its rules to allow cannabinoid production in May. Jurisdictions wishing to lead the world market may soon get left behind if they have not finalised their plans before then.  

Paul-Smith-01-16-9.jpg

Pictured: "Guernsey has been ahead of the game all the way along and we just need to stay there really," said Paul Smith, Group Chief Executive of The House of Green, a Guernsey-based company.

Mr Smith said one of the biggest challenges of operating in Guernsey during the past 12 months related to exporting products. He said Guernsey requires distributors to have an export licence and proof of an import licence from the UK, which is more bureaucratic than in the UK and complicates distribution. 

"It's a wrinkle in the process," he said. "There’s plenty of space in the market for everybody and we need to get both governments fully behind this industry now."

The House of Green continues to expand. It recently hired a new Chief Technical Officer who has been driving forward the pioneering cannabis industry in California for the past five years. Michael Pardo is a chemical engineer and will be working to optimise production methods at The House of Green.

"We're delighted to welcome Michael to our growing team," said Mr Smith. "He brings a wealth of experience with him having led the design and build out for more than five cannabis processing businesses throughout the western United States."

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