Chief Minister signals support for medicinal cannabis cultivation
THE Chief Minister has come out in support of developing a medicinal cannabis industry – providing it can be taxed and does not damage the Island’s reputation.
Earlier this month the JEP revealed that the Economic Development Department is planning to issue licences to grow the crop in the hope of raising hundreds of millions in revenue from exports and re-invigorating the agricultural industry.
It is understood that a number of potential growers are interested and several planning applications have been made to convert old agricultural buildings and glasshouses into hydroponic cultivation sites.
Speaking at the Institute of Directors’ mid-year review yesterday, Chief Minister John Le Fondré indicated for the first time support for the project, subject to two caveats.
‘I was briefed on it before Christmas. My general view is that provided it does not damage the Island’s reputation, and I understand that to be the case, that there could be a significant economic and tax benefit to it,’ he said.
‘One of my crucial questions is that we need to make sure that we can tax revenue on it as well.
‘If the numbers are what they are talking about then this is of significant interest.’
‘So, my view is the two criteria are (a) that we have the revenue mechanism in place and (b) reputation-wise that it does not damage us.’
Senator Le Fondré added that he feels it could be a ‘very good opportunity’ for the Island but would need to be acted upon quickly so that Jersey gets ahead of the global market.
When announcing his plans to pursue the medicinal cannabis market, Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said that he Island could be an attractive growing location due to reputation for tight regulation and security.
He also outlined that as well as boosting agriculture, the move could generate jobs in research and intellectual property.