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From Tomatoes To Cannabis; The Ambitions Of A Channel Islands’ Pioneer

Written by Peter McCusker

The Channel Island of Jersey is set to secure its third cannabis farm as it benefits from new rules which allow growers to use the flowers and leaves of the plant.

Solario Ltd has unveiled plans to transform a former tomato farm into a medical cannabis plant, reports the Cannex website. The company says its plans include include new growing rooms, trimming and packing facilities, with a vault and dispatch area, all contained in a 2.4 metre-high fence, topped with barbed wire.

Government’s Cannabis Ambition

This follows the earlier release of proposals for a new facility at La Pepiniere Farm in St Mary by Mark Yates, of the Therapeutic Cannabinoids International Partnership. And last month Jersey Hemp, based at Warwick Farm, became the first non-pharmaceutical business in the U.K. to secure a licence to extract CBD from the leaves and flowers of the cannabis plant.

This surge in cannabis activity on Jersey follows a concerted attempt by the island’s Government to take a lead in the U.K.’s emerging cannabis industry. The Economic Development Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, told the Jersey Evening Post that the channel island, which belongs to the U.K, but is off the coast of France, ‘is an attractive location for cannabis businesses’.

CBD Licence – A ‘No-Brainer’

He went on to say that ‘we plan to position ourselves as a centre of excellence in production, research, genetics and intellectual property in the sector’. Jersey Hemp, based at Warwick farm on the island,  became the first company to secure a licence from the Jersey Government to cultivate cannabis and produce CBD products. 

David Ryan, Jersey Hemp’s chief executive, says the change in the rules was a massive boost for his cannabis company. He said ‘it was a no-brainer to get the licence, given that we were using CBD oil up until now, but from foreign hemp farms’.

£300 Million Boost

The ambition of the Jersey authorities to be in the front seat of the fast-moving cannabis train could provide a significant boost to the island’s economy. Chris Callaghan, the chief science officer at Jersey Hemp, told CBD Testers that with the European medical cannabis market set to reach around by £30bn by 2020 the island ‘could generate £300m a year if it secured just one per cent of that business’.

“This could see many of the dilapidated greenhouses restored to their former glory as well as retaining much of the agricultural knowledge acquired from the historical tomato and flower industries,” he added.

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About the author

Peter McCusker

Peter McCusker is an experienced news and business editor, who believes it’s time to fully embrace the multiple, proven, medical benefits of the cannabis plant.