Cannabis Europa, which was organised by Hanway Associates, is considered to be Europe’s foremost conference on the matter and was attended by Senator Lyndon Farnham along with officers from the Environment and Economic Development departments.
The purpose of the visit was to get an update on developments in the emerging industry and promote the Island’s intentions of becoming a ‘centre of excellence’ in the global market.
However, Health Minister Richard Renouf has supported GPs who have not begun to prescribe medicinal cannabis, saying that further research into the drug is needed.
Senator Farnham said: ‘Jersey offers distinct advantages over other jurisdictions to companies wishing to engage in cultivation, processing, and extraction of pharmaceutical pre-cursors from cannabis.
‘We wish to position ourselves as a centre of excellence in production, research, genetics and intellectual property in the sector and attending events like Cannabis Europa gives the perfect opportunity to network and also to make our intentions known’.
Jersey is currently in the process of assessing applications by local companies to produce hemp and cannabis for various uses ranging from fibre, oil and nutritional supplements to high-tech extracts for supply into the pharmaceutical industry.
Scott Meadows, head of plant health and lead officer for the alternative crop strategy, said that it was an ‘interesting and exciting’ area for Jersey.
‘Cultivation and secondary processing of pharmaceutical crops will provide high-value, low-volume export products, broaden our cropping portfolio and create skilled high-value jobs,’ he said.
George McBride, co-founder of Hanway Associates and Cannabis Europa, said that it was ‘exciting to see Jersey taking such a proactive stance’ towards developing a regulated medical cannabis industry.
‘Jersey has a number of competitive advantages which make it well placed to become a hub for the global cannabis industry,’ he said.
Reasons which have been cited for Jersey having a potential advantage in the global medicinal cannabis market have included its track record of regulating industries well, its secure location as an island and numerous potential growing sites, such as disused agricultural sheds and glass houses.
It is hoped that if Jersey takes an early lead in the market, tens of millions of pounds of revenue could be generated.
Meanwhile, the French government has been urged to legalise cannabis for recreational use.