By Roland Sebestyén
Pharmafield reports that the Isle of Man government has passed legislation that would allow licenced businesses to cultivate, sell and export medical cannabis globally. The move is widely seen as the result of years of campaigning by civil organisations and prominent figures on the island.
The MPs sitting in Tynwald have anonymously backed the proposal to update the Misuse of Drugs Act 1976.
Reportedly, in the future, certain businesses and people living and working on the Isle of Man could apply for a licence that would permit them to work with the cannabis plant. The documentation will cost between £250 and £45,000.
According to the paper, the government estimates £3 million in profits in a year, while the cannabis market could create up to 250 jobs on the island. It is also known that the government has named the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) to regulate the industry.
Mark Rutherford from GSC said: “The Island has a track record as an early adopter of new sectors.
“Over the course of the past 20 years acting as the regulator for the Island’s eGaming sector, the GSC has developed expertise in keeping the industry crime free, protecting consumers and providing transparency, and this experience is complementary to the skills that will be required for this new and emerging sector.
“This is an exciting opportunity, and we have a sophisticated framework for supervising gambling which can be easily adapted to regulate the cultivation and processing of cannabis.
“We recognise there is huge potential for this new sector to create real positive economic benefit so we need to ensure we treat the new cannabis sector like we have treated the gambling sector: that license stakeholders that are competent, credible and crime free from the outset.”
In November, while reporting the accessibility of medical cannabis on the Isle of Man, we talked to David Ashford, the Minister for Health and Social Care.
Mr Ashford then reminded that in 2019, the government of the Isle of Man invited its population to make their opinions clear on a wide range of issues regarding medicinal cannabis.
The results were telling: more than 95% of the respondents said they supported a regulated medicinal cannabis market.
Mr Ashord said: “Since the results of the consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has been working on internal policy development and looking at what legal changes would be required.”
He said even if there were any sort of relaxation as to the drug policy in place, medical cannabis would still be required to be a prescribed drug.
However, he added: “I hope we can move things on in the next 12 months. On the Isle of Man, the parliament only has a year to run now before the next general election, which we have on 21 September.
“I would certainly hope that by that time we would reach that point we’ve been able to start actually getting medicinal cannabis more freely available for people.”