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Licences for cultivation of high-THC medicinal cannabis early next year?

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JERSEY is set to issue its first licences to cultivate potent high-THC medicinal cannabis early next year, with interest from North American investors growing, the Economic Development Minster has told industry leaders in Canada.

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham at the Cannabis Europa conference in Toronto (26321792)

Speaking at the Cannabis Europa Conference in Toronto, Senator Lyndon Farnham promoted the Island’s fledgling sector as a potential base for US and Canadian investors to reach the European market of 750 million people. He said that a well-regulated medicinal cannabis industry could create the ‘biggest wellbeing and healthcare opportunity in a generation’.

During a keynote speech, the minister pushed the Island’s selling-points of its track record of tightly regulating industries, such as its banking sector, and long agricultural tradition.

‘It is the Jersey Government’s intent to be at the forefront of the emerging European cannabis market,’ he said.

‘And I can assure you that our jurisdiction will play its part in helping to build a responsible, well-regulated, trusted and effective industry, as it has already done in the global banking and financial-services arena.’

He added: ‘We know it is incumbent on governments and businesses to work together to promote the fact that a well-regulated medical cannabis industry – and the key here is well-regulated – can absolutely be the catalyst to creating the biggest wellbeing and healthcare opportunity in a generation.

‘Jersey is perfectly placed to be part of a new industry that is about the provision of medicine, innovative cutting-edge science, high-value agriculture, the creation of intellectual property and global regulation.

‘We have the experience, the infrastructure and, of course, the entrepreneurial spirit.’

The Senator went on to say that interest was growing from investors since Jersey issued its first growing licences earlier this year.

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He added that plans were in place to issue licences in the near future to grow plants which contain higher concentrations of the psychoactive substance THC.

‘Investors who appreciate Jersey’s gold-standard approach to regulation in order to properly service the European cannabis market are looking to us over some of the, perhaps, looser and less well-regulated jurisdictions that seemed to attract much of the early interest,’ he said.

‘To date we have companies licensed to cultivate hemp and use the non-controlled parts of the plant for seed and fibre. We have companies licensed to cultivate hemp and use the flowers for CBD extraction.

‘And we have had a range of local companies looking to obtain licences to cultivate high-THC cannabis for use in medicinal products. I can say that it is our intention to issue the first licences for high-THC cannabis early in 2020.

‘We have received expressions of interest from further afield too. We have had preliminary fact-finding discussions with businesses who have Canadian and US backing and are looking to set up a European base in Jersey.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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