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Isle of Man gives go ahead to grow medical cannabis

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The Canna Consultants founder said it was an ‘exciting time’ for the industry and the island

Leaders on the Isle of Man have backed a licensing system for the cultivation of medical cannabis on the island.

The Isle of Man’s parliament, Tynwald, voted unanimously on Tuesday 19 January to approve the regulations which will allow for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. 

Medical cannabis grown on the island can now be exported to a global market, boosting the economy and creating potentially hundreds of employment opportunities. 

The island has set its sight on becoming a ‘centre of excellence’ for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use, with regulations allowing licences to be issued for the indoor cultivation of limited strength THC in a controlled environment.

The Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) will be responsible for the granting of licenses and ensuring rules around quality and security within the sector are followed, after a transfer of power from the Department of Health in December 2020.

For the last year, London-based cannabis consultancy firm, The Canna Consultants have acted as exclusive consultants to the Isle of Man in the development of these regulations.

Welcoming the outcome, co-founder and director, Stephen Oliver, said it was an ‘exciting time’ for the industry and the island. 

Stephen Oliver, director of The London Canna Consultants

“We’re very pleased with the outcome, which is what we hoped for,” he told Cannabis Health.

“It’s a very exciting time for the island. We see it as providing huge opportunities for young people there, which have previously been limited.”

He added: “The island is very progressive and I think we’ll find that this is a staged implementation, they embrace the idea of becoming a centre of excellence of research and development.”

The first test crops and license applications are expected this year, with the production of the first of medicinal products from the island in the next two years. 

According to Oliver, the Isle of Man’s ability to offer longevity and security, have set it up to become a world leader in the sector. 

“We’ve seen huge acquisitions and licence applications across the globe, but one of the things the Isle of Man offers is a stable government, the ministers are all independent and have the ability to pass progressive laws,” he said

“People who want to cultivate cannabis want a secure regime, they want the longevity and security that’s offered with that. They don’t want to invest millions of pounds and then wonder whether or not in five or 10 years time that’s going to be removed.”

The Canna Consultants are now working with industry participants who wish to obtain licences on the Isle of Man to export medical cannabis to other countries in Europe.

Oliver also expects to see joint ventures between land and infrastructure owners and firms with more experience of indoor cultivation.

Although medical cannabis will still not be able to be accessed locally, the move is considered a step in the right direction. 

“Some of the kickback has been that this doesn’t allow people on the island to get access to cannabis medicines, but as we’ve seen, globally, all of these are stepped changes,” Oliver said.

“The important thing here is that containment of quality and being selective about the type of producers which can come to the island and looking at the creation of employment and opportunities.”

Will the move have a knock-on effect in the UK, where hemp farmers are still not permitted to utilise the flower or buds of the cannabis plant?

“I think it has to have a positive effect eventually, but I don’t expect it to happen overnight,” added Oliver.

“We saw the revolutionary access to medical cannabis two years ago, but this is not about a single piece of legislation it’s about an attitude. 

“We’ve got the Channel Islands, which are also very progressive and where we’ve seen recent investment in medicinal cannabis facilities there.

“I think the UK government is going to have to react at some stage.”

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Weekend digest: Six big stories from the cannabis world you might have missed

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Another week, another rollercoaster in the fast-moving world of cannabis.

At Cannabis Health, our in depth coverage of the ongoing growth of cannabis as a medical and wellness product continues

Meanwhile, over at Cannabis Wealth, we’ve been following all the big industry and policy news in a week which has seen some important developments..

Been busy and want to get caught up in a hurry?

Here are the six things you need to read to stay in the loop this week.

1. Products pulled from shelves

Two batches of medical cannabis products have been recalled by regulators as investigations are carried out, following reports they may be contaminated with mould.

Medical cannabis pharmacy, Dispensary Green and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have issued a ‘precautionary’ product recall since being made aware of ‘defects’ in patient’s medication.

Concerns were initially raised after a number of medical cannabis patients spotted what they believed to be mould spores in their prescriptions.

Full story here.

2. NFL turns to medical cannabis

The National Football League (NFL) in America is providing $1 million in funding for research into pain management and cannabinoids.

The NFL is funding research into medical cannabis.

The pain management committee of the NFL and the NFL Players Association announced it would stump up the funding on Tuesday 8 June.

According to the organisation’s news platform, the move is the next step in a shifting attitude towards players who use medicinal cannabis to manage pain from injuries.

You can read more here.

3. More medical cannabis evidence

Researchers have found that the cannabinoids CBD and CBG, when used in combination, are beneficial for treating inflammation in the lungs.

Scientists at King’s College London, working in collaboration with Sativa Wellness Group have published the first results from a study into the impact of cannabinoids on respiratory diseases.

It aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of the two non-psychotropic cannabinoids alone and in combination, in a model of pulmonary inflammation.

Full details here.

4. Germany to vote for reform?

Germany’s national election on September 26 could be a landmark moment for Europe’s cannabis industry.

As Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to leave the stage, the European Union’s most influential country looks destined for a political shakeup.

Annalena Baerbock could become Germany’s first pro-drug reform Chancellor.

It could mark a huge moment for the cannabis industry as Germany’s parliament might swing in favour of legislation.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

5. Adapt or fail

The pro-drug reform lobby must accept it has failed and change to push its agenda ahead, leading experts have warned.

Speaking at a Global Cannabis Intelligence event about the state of advocacy in the UK, three leading policy advocates set out how they think greater access can be achieved.

The discussion comes week after the 50-year anniversary of the passage of the The Misuse of Drugs Act.

Read the full story here.

6. Isle of Man steps up

The Isle of Man government has declared it is open for business to the medical cannabis industry.

In a big to create 250 new jobs and generate £3m a year for the island, policymakers want it to become ‘a world-leading exporter’.

Applications are now open for licences to produce and distribute treatments on the island, as well as to use it as an export base.

Full details here.

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New tracking app launches for UK medical cannabis patients

Through the app patients will be able to monitor their own symptoms and medication usage

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The free health monitoring app is already being used elsewhere in the world.

UK medical cannabis suppliers Grow Pharma have teamed up with an Australian tech firm to launch a new app for patients.

The partnership with OnTracka will see them launch Calyx, a free health monitoring app already being used elsewhere in the world.

Users will be able to monitor their own symptoms and medication usage, speak securely with their doctor and contribute to gathering evidence about the use of medical cannabis.

The app will also be available in Ireland and the Channel Islands after successful launches in Australia, the US and South America.

Users will be able to monitor their own symptoms and medication usage

Pierre Van Weperen, CEO of Grow Pharma said: “Grow Pharma is currently fulfilling around a third of all prescriptions for the UK’s medicinal cannabis patients.

“Our prominent role gives us a significant advantage to building data insights into how patients are managing their health.

“This is integral to pave the way towards increasing access for patients in the UK through providing doctors with confidence around the safety and efficacy of these products.

“Using the app will generate important insights to provide real-time evidence to doctors and regulators.”

Grow Pharma hopes the app will help ‘rapidly accelerate an understanding of the safety, quality, and efficacy’ of medical cannabis.

Insights gained via the app will ‘advance the industry forward in the service of patients, shaping future legislation and policy based on patient experiences’ by providing real-world data to regulators.

Grow is in the process of raising £6 million worth of capital via a private funding round expect to be completed later this month.

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Isle of Man launches medical cannabis export sector

The Isle of Man is open for business to the medical cannabis industry.

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The move could 250 new jobs and generate £3 million a year for the island

The Isle of Man government has declared it is open for business to the medical cannabis industry.

In a big to create 250 new jobs and generate £3 million a year for the island, policymakers want it to become ‘a world-leading exporter’.

Applications are now open for licences to produce and distribute treatments on the island, as well as to use it as an export base.

The island’s regulator – the Gambling Supervision Commission – has set out conditions for the licensing of high-THC cannabis and hemp.

Enterprise minister Laurence Skelly said: “The growing global medicinal cannabis market provides significant opportunity for economic development in the Isle of Man, and the new regulatory framework and guidance will offer stringent and flexible licensing of a broad range of cannabis products, which ranges from outdoor grown industrial hemp to indoor grown medicinal products.

“The Isle of Man Government has every confidence that the GSC will provide a world class regulatory structure required to regulate this new and complex industry.

The Isle of Man wants to be a major player in Europe’s growing medical cannabis industry.

“I am delighted to welcome licence applications and look forward to attracting quality businesses to the Island, transforming the cannabis export sector into a key contributor to the Isle of Man’s post-Covid economic recovery.”

The self-governing British Crown Dependency, which has a population of 83,000, approved new medical cannabis laws in January.

The island’s parliament – the Tynwald – moved to attract the industry to its shores after a public consultation showed 95 percent of residents were in favour of the policy.

Mark Rutherford, director of policy at the island’s regulator, said: “The GSC already has a sophisticated framework for supervising gambling.

‘We have worked carefully to apply the best of that framework to the risks in the new sector and we have educated ourselves in the technical areas that are new to us.

“What we now have will ensure that all stakeholders will be competent, crime free and capable of building a sector that is safe, trusted and efficient.

“As regulators, we aspire to put our regulatory umbrella above as many consumers as possible so that they can benefit from regulations that are well thought out and properly supervised.

“Years of prohibition mean that the markets in which our licensees will be participating are still in their infancy and still contain many uncertainties.

“To address this situation, it is our aim to ensure that consumers who purchase Isle of Man products will be able to understand exactly what their product contains through accurate labelling and independent testing.

“The GSC recognises there are many stakeholders in this newly created field and intends to extend its ethos of cooperation with other government authorities into its approach to cannabis regulation.”

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