The Isle of Man (IOM) Government has opened licence applications for the production, distribution and export of medical cannabis products.
The move ‘marks a significant step in the IOM’s bid to be a world-leading exporter of medicinal cannabis,’ a government spokesperson said.
The plans are expected to help with COVID recovery by boosting employment opportunities for the island.
They could see the creation 250 new jobs and £3 million in annual benefits over the next few years, the government said, including infrastructure to support the new sector.
A Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) regulatory framework will detail the requirements for the licensing of hemp and high-THC products.
Minister for Enterprise, Laurence Skelly MHK, said:
“I am delighted to welcome licence applications and look forward to attracting quality businesses to the Island, transforming the cannabis export sector into a key contributor to the Isle of Man’s post-COVID economic recovery.”
Industry body the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) welcomed the news that the island was moving ahead with its production and export programme.
CMC Co-Founder and Strategic Counsel, Steve Moore, told The CANNAVIST:
“Two years ago we were commissioned by the Isle of Man government to undertake a feasibility study to help guide their cannabis policy.
“We are pleased that they adhered to our recommendations.”
The medical cannabis marketplace is notoriously difficult to navigate and still very much in its infancy.
The GSC said that it would ensure transparency to help customers make informed decisions.
Mark Rutherford, Director of Policy and Legislation at the GSC, said:
“It is our aim to ensure that consumers who purchase Isle of Man products will be able to understand exactly what their product contains through accurate labelling and independent testing.”
Plans to allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis on the island were paused in March while the government dealt with the impact of the pandemic.
Douglas South MHK Claire Christian called on the government to follow the ‘Jersey model’ to allow a small number of GPs to prescribe the medication.
In January, Jersey startup Northern Leaf became only the second UK company to be granted a licence to cultivate, manufacture and export high-THC medical cannabis.