Cannabis companies want to set up in island

Saturday 13th July 2019 4:35 am
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Two public consultations have been launched, one concerning cannabis for medical purposes and the other for growing industrial hemp - pictured is Health Minister David Ashford

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Health Minister David Ashford says the government has been approached by businesses looking to produce cannabis for medicinal use.

His comments came after public consultation found 95% in favour of allowing cannabis to be processed and cultivated in the island.

Mr Ashford said: ’I think there are huge opportunities. I myself have been approached by companies who are interested potentially in opening up in the island in relation to this.

’The Department for Enterprise has also been approached.’

He added: ’The important thing is that we get it right with anything that we go ahead and do.’

A consultation on the medicinal use of cannabis found 55% supported offering quality assured medicinal cannabis through accredited dispensaries, while 62% were in favour of restricting access to medicinal cannabis to those over-18, except in clearly defined exceptions.

In the House of Keys last month, Lawrie Hooper (LibVannin, Ramsey) asked what consideration had been given to licensing the production of medicinal cannabis.

He said the latest reports indicated the potential for the legal market for cannabis to grow to a global $166 billion dollar industry by 2025.

Mr Ashford said the consultation had demonstrated the strength of support for the medicinal use of cannabis and it regulated cultivation and production here and there was ’clearly’ a public appetite for it.

He needed to sit down with colleagues to discuss the next step, he said, and consideration of licensing its production would ’form an important part of that process’.

He pledged: ’I would hope we can get things moving over the summer. I would hope to come forward with an update to Tynwald in October.’

Changes to the law in the UK, which aimed to facilitate the medicinal use of cannabis, have been branded a failure by critics. They say the new law has failed because of a lack of willingness among specialist doctors to prescribe - because they feel the rules are unclear - and also a lack of supply.

Mr Ashford has previously warned that if any changes are made to Manx laws, it would be important to ensure the medical profession were on board.

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