The agreement marks a significant step in the development of the Bailiwick’s emerging cannabis industry, which has quickly become one of the most established in the British Isles.
The move has been welcomed by the Channel Islands Cannabis Industry Association.
A number of glasshouse sites have already been turned over to growing cannabis.
Chairman Paul Smith said the MoU put Guernsey on a level-footing with Jersey and the Isle of Man.
‘Guernsey businesses will now be able to expand into the medical cannabis sector and we are aware that some of our members have already submitted applications for medical cannabis licences,’ he
‘We would like to extend our thanks to the Committees for Health & Social Care, Home Affairs and Economic Development and to Deputies Inder and Helyar for driving this forward. This has been a cross-departmental project and we appreciate the efforts of the respective teams who have been working diligently over recent weeks to get this done.’
Under the terms of the MoU, the States of Guernsey is forming a Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency. All applications will be received by the newly-created agency, which is responsible for reviewing, regulating, inspecting and licensing cannabis businesses within the Bailiwick.
‘CICIA will work closely with this agency to ensure that the cannabis licensing regime is robust and proportionate so that Guernsey can position itself as a centre of excellence for the cannabis industry,’ said Mr Smith.
The medicinal cannabis market is one of the fastest-growing cannabis sectors. It is estimated that the European medicinal cannabis market will grow to a value of £16.1bn. by 2024.
With the MoU now in place, successful applicants will be able to cultivate cannabis plants with high THC content as they develop their products. Prior to the agreement, only licences for the cultivation and processing of CBD products were available.
Cannabis remains a controlled drug within the Bailiwick.
Cultivation of cannabis is strictly prohibited in the islands, unless carried out under licence.
The revised licensing regime established in accordance with the commitment in the MoU would apply to almost all businesses cultivating and processing cannabis in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Health & Social Care president Deputy Al Brouard said that Guernsey was one of the first to recognise the potential benefits that medicinal cannabis-based products might bring.
‘The MoU marks the start of a process that may allow these products to be produced on-island for the benefit of patients within the Bailiwick and overseas,’ he said.
Economic Development president Deputy Neil Inder noted that Guernsey’s growing heritage was thriving within this new island industry.
‘The MoU ensures that the Bailiwick can continue to remain at the forefront of a developing sector that provides diversification to our economy, revitalisation of our environment and new opportunities for skills and employment,’ he said.
‘Growers once moved into finance and now finance is moving into growing. The committee will continue to support the opportunities available in the pharmaceutical industry and I’m very grateful for the effort all parties have made to deliver the long-awaited MoU.’