Medicinal cannabis ‘is still on track for meaningful returns’

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Senator Lyndon Farnham has maintained that ‘new entrants’ will continue to emerge within the sector, after plans to build a medicinal-cannabis farm alongside the Holme Grown farm shop in Grouville were revealed.

And he said a proposed 20% tax rate for those cultivating the crop had been ‘carefully considered’ following consultation with the industry.

On Wednesday, it was announced that GroVida Jersey Ltd – a joint endeavour between business development firm Oasthouse Ventures and medicinal-cannabis suppliers GroVida LDA Portugal – will submit a planning application to refurbish glasshouses at Fauvic Nurseries to produce cannabis-based medicinal products for the UK and Europe.

Senator Farnham said: ‘This is positive news for the industry, which is still in the early stages of development. It also shows confidence in the potential growth of the sector. I am pleased to see the [proposed] refurbishment of the disused glasshouse, as it will be an effective use of the land and fits well with the rural economy strategy.’

Cannabis companies in Jersey could be taxed 20% from the start of next year, if draft regulations lodged by Treasury Minister Susie Pinel are adopted. The proposed amendment points out that Guernsey already taxes the cannabis industry – having applied a 20% rate since the beginning of 2020.

Senator Farnham said: ‘The tax rate has been carefully considered and the industry has been consulted. Obviously we want to make sure we are competitive with other jurisdictions. It is going to be an important industry for us but we also need to raise tax revenue from it.’

GroVida LDA Portugal will run the medicinal-cannabis operation separately to Holme Grown, which has announced plans to build a charity shop and care home.

Holme Grown managing director Stanley Payn said the three projects were an ‘exciting’ combination that would regenerate the area.

Senator Farnham said: ‘A development like this will breathe life into those areas and create community hubs, providing a mix of both employment opportunities and much-needed community facilities.’

In March, Senator Farnham said that the next two to three years would see a number of ‘new entrants’ into the medicinal-cannabis industry – and the Island could start to see some ‘meaningful returns’ within the next three to five years.

Asked if that prediction had changed, he said: ‘I believe that the timeline is realistic – this sort of development and investment underpins that. It is still a fledgling industry, but the early investment we have seen in Jersey has given the Island a head start, and we must nurture and support it.’

He added: ‘This can be very productive for our rural economy, because it has the potential to produce a far higher yield than other crops from a relatively small amount of agricultural land.’

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