THE Isle of Man is looking to steal a march on the rest of the UK with proposals to develop a fully-fledged, homegrown, export-focused cannabis industry.
In a public consultation exercise launching this week it says the emerging sector has the potential to create up to 250 jobs for islanders, generating £11.5m in annual wages, and boosting Government tax revenues by £3m a year.
It’s aiming to attract interest from some of the world’s leading cannabis companies with the island, off the west coast of England, well-positioned to access the European continent.
Gold-Standard Global Ambition
Lawrie Hooper, Political Member with responsibility for the Business Isle of Man Executive Agency, said in a press release: “We aim to a gold-standard global regulatory regime for the cannabis export sector that protects consumers and patients, provides a stable regulatory regime with clear pathways to licensure for commercial operators and develops a sustainable sector with economic benefits for the Isle of Man.”
The Department of Enterprise says its proposals set out a ‘stringent regulatory environment for the emerging sector’.
The latest formal consultation follows a 2019 survey which showed strong support for the creation of a framework for facilitating an export-based cannabis sector.
High-THC Cannabis Cultivation
UK cannabis industry professionals The Canna Consultants were contracted by the Isle of Man government to draft the legislative and regulatory structure for the industry.
Its comprehensive proposals will provoke envy from the the island’s mainland neighbours as they allow for the extraction of CBD from the flowers and the leaves of the hemp plant.
The proposals also permit licensing for the growth of high-THC cannabis for commercial and research purposes.
Further pillars of the legislation support the extraction of cannabinoids from both homegrown and imported biomass, and the export of biomass and finished cannabis medicines and associated products.
The Government is at lengths to say its proposals do not open the door to recreational cannabis use.
First Seeds By Spring 2021
Steve Oliver, Co-Founder and Director of The Canna Consultants told BusinessCann: “These are ground-breaking proposals which will place the island at the forefront the emerging European industry. We believe this refreshing approach to the cannabis plant will prove to be a magnet for many of the world’s leading companies.
“This is also great news for the UK consumer who will be able to access high-quality CBD oils, grown indoor by respected companies.”
It is expected the proposals will be ratified by the end of the year by Tynwald, the island’s parliament, and the first seeds will be planted in Isle of Man soil in spring next year.
Parallel plans are also being devised to support the energy-intensive, indoor growing operations with renewable energy developments.
The Isle of Man, with a population of 85,000 is a self-governing British Crown Dependency similar to the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey; it has its own parliament, government and laws.
While not part of the United Kingdom, The Queen, is ‘Lord of Mann’, the Manx Head of State and its policies, on the whole, align with the UK.
The Canna Consultants
The Government says it does not believe its proposed amendments contradict the UK’s amended 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act.
Mr Oliver added: “This is an opportunity to create a framework for a well-regulated, rapidly-emerging industry and could allow the Isle of Man to be one of the leading, trusted jurisdictions in licensing cannabis products.”
Matt Lawson, Co-Founder and Director of The Canna Consultants said: “The sovereign and independent nature of the Isle of Man, its geographic location and its history of innovation at the forefront of new industries has led it to create a highly-efficient and flexible, regulated cannabinoid industry.
“Market participants who utilise the island as a cultivation, extraction and manufacturing base will be able to benefit from the world’s best cannabinoid regulatory regime, designed by The Canna Consultants to assist those participants, and ensure that they remain ahead of their competition who are weighed down by the cumbersome structures of other jurisdictions.
“This Isle of Man regime is focussed, responsive and dedicated to facilitating prosperity on behalf of those who commit to the Island.”
The Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey also have less restrictive cannabis cultivation regulations than the rest of the UK, however they are still some way short of the Isle of Man proposals for indoor and outdoor cultivation, and the export of high-THC, low-THC and no-THC cannabis to the global markets.