Jersey’s Government has issued the first licences for commercial cultivation of medicinal cannabis in the Channel Islands, and some of the most recent in the British Isles.
Jersey has the mature business environment and robust regulatory system required to support a high value, securely managed medicinal cannabis industry. The issuing of these licences in December 2020 puts Jersey at the forefront of the emerging European medicinal cannabis market.
Jersey has previously stated its intention to diversify its rural economy towards alternative high value crops, including a responsible, well-regulated medicinal cannabis industry. The Island’s Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Economic Development, Senator Lyndon Farnham, announced to an international audience at the Cannabis Europa transatlantic forum in Toronto in 2019, that Jersey is open for business in this sector.
Senator Farnham has established a specialist cross-governmental team to develop the necessary regulatory framework, overseen by the Jersey Cannabis Agency, who can provide licenses to cultivate, possess and supply cannabis for medicinal and research purposes. The Minister has also established the Jersey Cannabis Services Advisory Group to provide an ongoing dialogue with industry representatives – both international and Jersey based – into the development of the industry.
The granting of these licences forms a critical part of the Island’s cannabis investment framework, which is paving the way for investors to participate in the Island’s highly regulated medicinal cannabis sector. Senator Farnham said: “These licences represent the birth of a new economic sector in Jersey. It will have an important economic impact, driving high-value economic diversification, creating jobs, encouraging inward investment and generating tax new revenues to support economic recovery.”
One of the first licences granted was for Northern Leaf, which is based at the former Tamba Park.
There are now 20 countries in Europe that have approved the use of medical cannabis and the market is expected to reach US$3.9bn per year by 2025, according to a report by BDS Analytics and Arcview.
European demand for medicinal cannabis is seeing annual patient growth rates of 60% in Germany and Italy, Europe’s largest legal markets. Jersey’s proximity to key European markets means it is well placed to take advantage of the imminent growth.
The European market currently has twice the population of the US and Canada and is a mature market, so is expected to exceed that of the US and Canada.
At present, the market is estimated to be around $600m per annum. In 2019, the cannabis industry attracted 100m euros worth of investment in Europe and $3 billion in North America, with a significant proportion of this investment expected to shift to Europe.
Senator Farnham added: “I see the Island’s growing medicinal cannabis sector as the ideal base for companies across the world, looking to expand into the European market. Jersey is perfectly placed to be part of a new industry that is about the provision of medicine, innovative cutting-edge science, high-value agriculture, the creation of intellectual property and global regulation.”