Isle of Man set to become world-leading exporter of medicinal cannabis

Isle of Man set to become world-leading exporter of medicinal cannabis

The Isle of Man Government has passed new regulations to create a comprehensive framework to issue licenses for the production, distribution and export of cannabis products from the Island.

The Isle of Man is a self-governing jurisdiction, and following a series of consultations, its Parliament, Tynwald, has approved changes to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations which will permit commercial operators to produce medical cannabis products.

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) will serve as the launch regulator for the sector, which is estimated to generate around £3 million in annual benefit in the coming years, and considerably more through the growth of associated infrastructure – including financial and operational – to support the sector. The Government expects the medicinal cannabis sector to also support and bring innovation to the Isle of Man’s Cleantech and construction sectors, as well as develop businesses from within and off the island.

The growing global cannabis market provides significant opportunity for economic development in the Isle of Man, with the global market forecasted to account for USD 82.19 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 20.25% between 2020-20171, as increasing awareness about the advantages of cannabis is expected to create new opportunity for the market. The new regulatory framework responds to industry and consumer demand for stringent and flexible licensing of a broad range of cannabis products, ranging from outdoor grown industrial hemp to indoor grown medicinal products. The framework only relates to an export industry and there are no changes to domestic legality of prescription medicinal cannabis or the legality of non-medical adult use of cannabis in the Isle of Man.

The GSC has been given access to cannabis industry expertise as it has worked up its guidance material. It is also familiar with working with its counterparts in other countries, which will form an important part of the project’s success. The GSC will work with all relevant Government Agencies and law enforcement to oversee the stringent regulations under the proposed changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Mark Rutherford, responsible for preparing the new regulatory framework at the GSC, commented: “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.”

Lawrie Hooper MHK, political member with responsibility for Business Isle of Man, said: “We are delighted to launch this exciting new sector in the Isle of Man and to take advantage of the expertise in regulating new, complex industries while providing stringent consumer safety. We’re confident that GSC’s regulation will once again attract quality businesses to the Island transforming the cannabis export sector into a key contributor to the Isle of Man’s post-COVID economic recovery.”