Guernsey, the second largest island in the English Channel, and a British Crown Dependency has issued its first license to cultivate cannabis for the cannabis based products for medicinal use (CBPM) market.
Guernsey were keen to keep up with Jersey and the Isle of Man who have both already started their own domestic cannabis programs. “Guernsey has established a licensing framework with the UK that is the same as Jersey’s and the Isle of Man’s, via a Memorandum of Understanding. This was requested by the sector in order to ensure Guernsey businesses were on a level playing field with competitors and was led by the BGCA [Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency] in order to provide robust, yet proportionate, regulatory oversight” officials said in a press release.
The States of Guernsey, often referred to as Guernsey’s government, agreed by a vote in July to start accepting license applications to cultivate cannabis for the medicinal cannabis market. In total seven applications were received, whilst only one has currently been successful, the States stressed that they want to give them the opportunity to bring their products to market by allowing them more time to meet the requirements of the framework. All applications were jointly reviewed by the BGCA and the UK Home Office.
The President of the Committee for Health and Social Care said, “We’re delighted to have been able to approve one businesses’ application. The granting of the first license represents a significant success, not only for the company itself, but also for the regulatory framework we put in place and agreed with the UK. We have had seven applications, and that in itself is incredibly encouraging, and I would encourage them to reapply if they feel able to make the adjustments needed.”
The UN’s International Narcotics Control Board issued a report in 2020 showing the UK to be the biggest exporter of medicinal cannabis in the world, estimating that 320 tonnes of legal cannabis were produced there in 2019, which was over three times the amount grown in 2016. The 2019 total accounted for 75% of the 468 tonnes total legally produced worldwide. GW Pharmaceuticals were the first UK based company to be granted a license to cultivate cannabis by the Home Office in 1998. GW produces the epilepsy cannabis based medicine Epidolex, they were purchased by Jazz Pharmaceuticals earlier this year for $7.6 billion.