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Isle of Man: Seeks to be the Gold Standard of Cannabis Exports into Europe

The Isle of Man is the latest territory to enter the legal cannabis market with authorities saying they are ready to receive license applications for the cultivation, processing and export of cannabis. The island wants to establish itself as a “Centre of Excellence” in supplying high quality medical marijuana into the European market.


Island now open for cultivation, processing and export license applications

The Isle of Man, population 84,584, is a self-governing British Crown dependency situated in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.

Cannabis licensing falls under the territory’s Gambling Supervision Commission (‘GSC’), which according to on 6 June 2021 said it’s regulatory framework was in place, opening the way for applications.

It’s expected the new industry will create 250 new jobs and £3 million in annual benefit in the coming years for the Island, and play a significant role in the Isle of Man’s post-COVID economic recovery.

London-based cannabis consultancy firm, The Canna Consultants has been working with the Isle of Man government since 2019 to draft the legislation – which is said to be the ‘gold standard’ in global regulatory regimes for the cannabis export sector. wanted 


Isle of Man aims high, wants to establish cannabis ‘centre of excellence’

Co-founder and director Steve Oliver says t the Isle of Mann wanted to to create a benchmark,  a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for the regulation of cannabis-derived products for export,”  He told Cannabis Health Online the emerging sector was a ‘huge opportunity’ for the island to supply some of the world’s leading cannabis companies.

Canna Consultant’s Oliver: Isle of Mann to set the benchmark for export


“None of us know what this industry is going to look like, but in 10 years it will be unrecognisable,” he said.

“The Isle of Man is trying to position itself so whichever way the market moves it is highly regulated and producing a high quality product.”

“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,”  said GSC Director of Policy and Legislation Mark Rutherford.


95% of the Island’s residents support CBD industry

The establishing of a medical cannabis sector has had strong resident support. A survey of 


islanders carried out in 2019 indicated 95% of the population support the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal products in the Isle of Man subject to suitable rules.

But this new legislation is just about exports and doesn’t alter domestic policies on the use of medical cannabis locally, the regulations for which are aligned with current UK cannabis regulation and practice. The Island’s Department of Health and Social Care is currently looking into the importation of medicinal cannabis products; seeking interest from  pharmacy services providers to fulfil private prescriptions issued by clinics in the UK.

“The purpose of this method is to issue a single licence to support the need of the island, whilst be assured of the governance and safety of the systems being put into place,” states the related Prior Information Notice. “This route will also cancel the need for single issue import licences being required by individuals each time they wish to receive a privately prescribed CBMP.”

Under current UK legislation hemp is not considered an agricultural crop and farmers must apply for a licence from the Home Office. They are then prohibited from using the flower and the bud of the plant (from which the cannabinoids are extracted) under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

However, the Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency and has its own parliament, government and laws.

“As the Isle of Man has its own parliament they are quite progressive and can act in a streamlined fashion, much quicker than other jurisdictions. There is a lot of support for this across the parliament,” says Oliver


With the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey also introducing less restrictive regulations around the production of cannabis, is the mainland missing out on a huge economic opportunity?

“The UK is notoriously less transparent, there’s a lack of guidance and a lot of red tape with regard to getting licences. UK hemp farmers are at a distinct disadvantage because they have to destroy the most valuable parts of the crop,” said Oliver.

“It is my personal belief that it’s a missed opportunity for any jurisdiction that isn’t looking at this market”.

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