Could Guernsey Lead The Way On Recreational Cannabis Reform In The UK?
The Channel Island has made great strides on the medical front. Will recreational reform be next?
Guernsey has been moving forward steadily on cannabis reform for the last several years. Envisioned as a way to help bring new business opportunities for the acres of empty greenhouses across the island, the development of the industry has received enthusiastic support from political leaders on the island.
Currently, the vast majority of cannabis patients on the island still have to import their medicine, via the British mainland, from other parts of the world, including Canada and Germany. About 800 patients have been issued approximately 5,000 individual import licenses over the last 18 months. This will gradually begin to change as local medical cultivation and extraction gets up to speed here.
However, recreational reform is also potentially in the offing.
Guernsey is, as a result, potentially the first place recreational reform will take hold in the United Kingdom. Local politicians who just returned from a fact-finding tour of Canada, also predict that full legalization will occur on the mainland within 5-10 years.
A Medical and Recreational Source of Flower
One of the drivers of cannabis reform here, beyond caring for local inhabitants with serious health conditions, has clearly been the economic redevelopment of an island that, in the past, provided a local source for the cut-flower industry on the mainland.
Growing here, rather than the UK, especially if the government revises domestic rules on the island, seems like a no-brainer.
However full reform is still a bit controversial on Guernsey. There is a clear sentiment that they do not want the island to become “just like Amsterdam” – namely breeding a tourist trade that comes here for the cannabis.
Growing, in some cases, extracting, and then exporting to the mainland is the focus here.
Could Reform in Guernsey Drive the British Discussion?
There is no doubt that reform has moved more quickly on the British islands around the UK than on the mainland itself. Both Jersey and Guernsey have progressed at least on medical cultivation, while on the Isle of Man, a $100 million-plus project has been announced.
In the meantime, the British Isles have moved forward on CBD reform. The Food Safety Authority just released a list of approved products for sale in the UK – and this will continue to grow. There is no reason that while the larger questions of reform are ironed out on a national level, however, Guernsey will still be able to grow hemp and high THC cannabis and export it, plus extract, to the mainland, while developing their own home-grown version of reform, that is also very likely, within the next several years, to include change of the recreational kind.