By Emily Ledger
Concerns have been raised over Jersey’s rules on its emerging medical cannabis industry. Politicians say that the rules are too weak and say the island needs its own specific regulations for the sector.
Current regulations in Jersey are reliant on a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK Home Office. However, the Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel said in a statement “legislative controls already in place provide a robust foundation” and would evolve as the industry developed.
However, the panel also said that it wanted to see local industry regulations contained under a single piece of island legislation. A total of 25 recommendations were made by the panel, including more coherent cross-departmental working and clearly defined lines of ministerial responsibility.
Panel Chair David Johnson said: “The cultivation of medicinal cannabis in Jersey is promising as it demonstrates the potential for a thriving new sector within our island’s economy.
“However, we wish to ensure that it operates within a strong regulatory framework to encourage investment and enhance Jersey’s strong international reputation.”
Over the last couple of years, Jersey’s medical cannabis sector has come a long way. Medical cannabis was effectively legalised on the island at the same time as the UK – in November 2018. Since then, policymakers have put in the work to help the island become a hub for the industry in Europe.
But that hasn’t stopped the current legislation and regulation from drawing criticism.
Senator Lyndon Farnham, the minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, said: “Scrutiny’s concerns about regulations and ministerial accountability will be addressed in government’s formal response to their report, but I would say that the regulatory and legislative controls already in place provide a robust foundation, are in line with international standards, and will evolve as the industry develops.
“This is an important new sector for Jersey, and its benefits include the diversification of our agricultural sector; the development of other high-value businesses, such as the research and development of new cannabinoid medicines; and ultimately the potential for additional revenue for Jersey through taxes and licence fees.”