Company in Alderney wants to grow hemp

HEMP production could begin in the Bailiwick in time for crops to be grown and harvested next year.

Alderney Essential Oil Co. wants to cultivate hemp for use in therapeutic products. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 23347634)
Alderney Essential Oil Co. wants to cultivate hemp for use in therapeutic products. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 23347634)

The States intends to be in a position to take licence applications early in 2019 and a consortium in Alderney could be the first to take advantage.

Called the Alderney Essential Oil Co. it wants to cultivate the plant for use in therapeutic products.

It aims to develop a parcel of family-owned land of between one and three acres for hemp cultivation next year.

The States of Alderney are in support of the venture and there is no legislation in Alderney to overcome once they get the Guernsey licence.

It is a project they want to get going on as soon as licences begin to be issued.

‘We’re doing it because it’s something we think is good for the island as it’s a commercial enterprise which will generate additional employment and a different income stream,’ said a spokesman for the company.

‘We’ve investigated the market. We would like to get started as early as possible.’

James Dent said that the States of Alderney was in favour of the venture.

Alderney Shipping owner Bruno Kay-Mouat is part of the consortium.

‘We have been talking to Bruno about his plans to grow hemp commercially. The Policy & Finance Committee has agreed that hemp growing could be a valuable source of income for the island so we are supportive of this proposal.’

Hemp is the same plant species as cannabis but harvested before any of its psycho-active qualities develop.

Before cultivating hemp on Alderney any grower must first obtain a licence from the States of Guernsey.

Conditions for the licences are currently out for consultation with the Home Affairs and Economic Development.

The consultation period ends this month and the States aim to be in a position to accept licence applications early next year, in time for crops to be grown and harvested in 2019.

Conditions are likely to cover crop location, proposed products and end user, export, type of plant, security, transportation, any processing, handling of waste and requirements for producing a foodstuff or medicinal end product.

A hemp crop will take around four months to grow and harvest.

Earlier this year Mr Kay-Mouat submitted a planning application to erect a two metre fence around around the proposed crop for the duration of the growing season, after which it would be removed. The application was for the top section of a field covering the north facing side of the Barrack Masters valley up to Essex Castle, which his family also owns.

The land is zoned as agricultural green belt.

The matter was discussed at the November planning meeting. States Member Mike Dean expressed concerns that further security such as spotlights would be required which would add to the visual blight of fences.

Resident Guilia Hempel spoke up against the proposal. She said the application was being rushed.

Acting Planning Officer Samantha Osborne said it was a ‘difficult’ proposal because it was so unusual.

She recommended refusal because the high fencing would be out of character with the area.

Members resolved to defer the application subject to further information about the proposal, including advice from the Committee for Health and Social Care about licence and growing regulations.

Jersey’s historic hemp industry recently made a comeback after a licence was granted by health minister Senator Andrew Green. First crop was harvested earlier this year and it’s now part of a larger initiative to diversify the island’s agriculture industry.

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