Consultation on Cannabis for medicinal use and industrial hemp production
The Isle of Man Substance Misuse Strategy 2018-2023 identified political and public interest in the medicinal use of cannabis and included a commitment to review the evidence for the clinical effectiveness of medicinal cannabis. This review was completed in July 2018.
On 1 November 2018, the scheduling of cannabis-based medicinal products under the Misuse of Drugs legislation changed. As a result of the application of earlier legislation in the Isle of Man, the Statutory Instrument that made this change in England, Wales and Scotland also applies in the Isle of Man. Under the current legislation, cannabis based medicinal products can be prescribed by medical specialists (consultants) for a very limited range of conditions (chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, intractable epilepsy in childhood and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis).
Other countries have gone further in allowing the use of medicinal cannabis. In the Isle of Man, we have an opportunity to consider whether we want our approach to medicinal cannabis to remain in line with the UK, or whether we would like an alternative approach.
Through a recent Consultation local residents were given an opportunity to express their views on how medicinal cannabis should be made available here. The consultation enabled residents to express an opinion on whether growing cannabis for the production of medicinal cannabis products should be allowed on island within a regulatory framework.
Hemp is a plant that belongs to the species Cannabis sativa. Industrial hemp is grown for commercial use as a fibre or foodstuff. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1976, it is illegal to cultivate any plant of the genus Cannabis – so at present growing hemp for industrial purposes is also illegal under the Act.
The Misuse of Drugs Act 1976 makes provision for the Department of Health and Social Care to make regulations that would enable licences to be granted to grow Cannabis species. However, DHSC has never developed such regulations or received any requests to grant a licence to grow.
Creating a regulatory framework for industrial hemp could open up economic opportunities for its production in the Isle of Man. The Consultation sought the views of local residents on the acceptability of industrial hemp as a commercial crop and the regulatory framework for it.
Prescribing of Medicinal Cannabis
Changes to allow Industrial Hemp production
Decriminalisation of small amounts of cannabis for personal use
Consultation to follow