The Isle of Man Government has confirmed that licence applications are open and the accompanying guidance completed, for the production, distribution and export of medicinal cannabis products from the Island.
In January 2021, Tynwald passed new regulations to create a comprehensive framework for a medicinal cannabis export sector on the Island and appointed the Gambling Supervision Commission (‘GSC’) as the regulator for the sector.
The GSC has now completed the guidance to support the new regulations, which will provide interested parties with details on the requirements for the licensing of hemp production and high-THC products.
Minister for Enterprise, Laurence Skelly MHK, commented:
‘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. 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.’
Mark Rutherford, Director of Policy and Legislation at the GSC, commented:
‘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.’
The legislation is designed to foster a new export market, and has been driven by economic policy – it does not alter existing domestic policies on the use of cannabis-based medicines and products. However, the Department of Health and Social Care is currently exploring options to facilitate the importation of medicinal cannabis products to the Island in the future – this includes canvassing interest from experienced pharmacy services providers to fulfil private prescriptions issued by clinics in the UK. The Department of Health and Social Care has issued a Prior Information Notice, inviting interested parties to express an interest in the project. Expressions of interest should be submitted no later than 12 noon on the 15th June 2021.
The full guidance, along with licence applications and further information is now available to view on the Isle of Man GSC website.