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Guernsey to grow medicinal cannabis

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A GUERNSEY company has been given the green light to grow medicinal cannabis and work with a UK-based team to cultivate the plant for use in the health-and-wellbeing market.

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The move sees Guernsey step ahead of Jersey in efforts to harness the benefits of growing the highly lucrative crop, which Jersey Hemp science officer Chris Callaghan last year said could net the Island as much as £300 million a year.

Celebrated Ltd has been granted a license to grow cannabis at the former Douit Vinery in Guernsey, making it the first firm to be allowed to do so since prohibition was introduced in the UK in 1921.

The company intends to sell cannabis oils and health supplements at the ‘Original Alternative Guernsey’ shop in St Peter Port.

Planting is expected to begin within the next few weeks in a state-of-the-art growing and processing facility.

‘Our fully equipped laboratory will mean we can grow and develop the finest oils, which will conform to any legislation in any country, allowing Guernsey to be a leading light and trend setter in the current cannabis evolution,’ said Celebrated’s managing director Tina Bolding.

‘This decision will not only benefit our customers, but it also means we can resurrect Guernsey’s proud growing tradition.’

Mrs Bolding began researching the benefits of cannabis oils and other cannabis-based products when her late husband was diagnosed with cancer and was regularly in unmanageable pain.

She said that she hoped that a testing and research centre could be set up in Guernsey in memory of him.

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Celebrated has been working with UK-based Ben Birrell from the Greenstar consultancy, whose team of scientists and experts have more than ten years’ experience in the industry.

‘This is such an exciting opportunity and we are so proud to be part of a historic advancement for cannabis and hope that this will set a trend for the rest of the UK,’ said Mr Birrell.

Bioeconomy consultant Lucy Hopwood, who worked on an alternative crops report for Jersey in 2015, said last year that the Island would be an ‘ideal’ place to grow medicinal cannabis due to its secure location and large number of redundant greenhouses.

But she also warned there would be a number of challenges to face, such as policing issues, planning matters and the highly regulated market for the substance, as well as only a small number of doctors currently being able to prescribe the substance.

Last year the States approved a proposition calling for Jersey to introduce laws allowing doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis, which was lodged by Deputy Montfort Tadier – a long-term campaigner on the issue.

Health Minister Richard Renouf is preparing an order to authorise the necessary changes to the law, which is due to be passed in the coming weeks.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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