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Isle of Man sets rules for export-only medical cannabis sector

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CBD and medical marijuana can now be produced for export from the Isle of Man after rules were set by the government. Producer candidates can now apply for a license from the Gambling Supervision Commission, which is regulating the sector.

Cannabis on the Isle of Man is illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1976, but a clause in that act allows licenses to be granted for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of cannabis plants, therefore allowing establishment of an export-only strategy.

Proponents on the Isle have recognized an opportunity to provide the right regulatory framework for businesses to establish on-island production and address markets within the EU as they develop and mature.

Licensing potential

Earlier reports on medical cannabis indicated Isle of Man could become a leading jurisdiction in licensing cannabis products. A consultation released late last year by the government’s Department for Enterprise laid out a framework for hemp and marijuana, including plans for developing extraction and other infrastructure, and establishing an export scheme.

“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,” said Enterprise Minister Laurence Skelly, who said the rules represent “significant opportunity for economic development.”

The Department for Enterprise has said Isle of Man could replicate its track record of licensing success, notably in the e-Gaming sector, and by building on its well-regarded Ship Registry and Aircraft Registry regimes.

Isle’s advantages

The Isle, a British dependency, benefits from being self-governing and not bound by European Union laws and regulations. It gives the Isle of Man the opportunity to customize goods according to guidelines in different markets where different cannabis and consumer rules may apply.

The cannabis industry on Isle of Man has the potential to create up to 250 jobs by 2025, generate up to £11.5 million (~€12 million/~$14.5 million) in wages and bring in potential tax income of £3 million (~3.3 million/~$4 million) per year to the government, the Department for Enterprise has estimated.

The government said despite the restrictive Misuse of Drugs Act, options for importing medicinal cannabis products, including pharmacists being able to fill private prescriptions issued by UK clinics, are currently being explored by the health department.

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