Isle of Man doesn’t get spoken of much because it’s a tiny little place. However, there are some pretty big plans underway in this tiny little place. If all goes to plan, Peel NRE will make Isle of Man the building site for a massive medical cannabis cultivation facility.
Will Isle of Man become the new cannabis cultivation center of the world? Hard to say just yet, but its size and location make it a great place for the UK to produce medical cannabis. We’re a news platform focusing on the emerging cannabis and psychedelics fields. Stay current by signing up for the THC Weekly Newsletter, and also put yourself in first place for deals on a collection of cannabis products from vapes and edibles, to smoking paraphernalia. We also offer deals on cannabinoid products like HHC-O, Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP, HHC. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!
Isle of Man
When looking at a map, it’s clear that between England and Ireland, there’s a small island. This small island isn’t technically a part of either England or Ireland, and is self-governed, while also being a British Crown Dependency. This is an odd contradiction, because Isle of Man is actually not a part of either the UK, or the British Overseas Territories, but there is a dependency relationship on the UK, which keeps it from being an entirely sovereign country.
For this reason, Isle of Man is not a part of the Commonwealth of Nations, but is a member of the British-Irish Council. This can create gray area when it comes to passing legislation. Technically, the Queen-in-Council (the ruling monarch in the presence of an executive committee) has the final word, but generally legislation doesn’t change without consent from the island nation itself.
Isle of Man does have its own legislative assembly, and has plenty of power to self-govern on local matters, so long as the crown approves. The head of this government is called the chief minister, and the reigning monarch is considered the Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is represented on the island by a lieutenant governor. Isle of Man doesn’t have its own military, and depends on the UK for defense measures.
The island has been inhabited by people since 6,500 BC, and has been a center for Gaelic culture since the 5th century AD when Irish missionaries settled on it. As of a 2021 census, there are approximately 84,000 people living on the island, with over 26,000 residing in the capital city of Douglas. The island is about 32 miles long (52km), 14 miles at its widest point (22km), and covers about 221 square miles (572km2).
Isle of Man cultivation facility
In February, 2022, the company Peel NRE, released an outline for a massive medical cannabis cultivation facility on the Isle of Man. This cultivation facility would be adjacent to a new research campus, also to be built in the Braddan area. The plans are only a proposal for now, and the company requested opinions from the public about its plans.
According to Chris Eves, the finance director for the project, the cultivation buildings will be atmospherically-controlled, and will produce highly potent cannabis specifically for the medical industry. He explained in terms of timing, that there was “never a better time to grow the industry than the post-pandemic era”. He went on to explain that there would be comprehensive security measures involved for both the research and cultivation facilities.
He also pointed out that the creation of these facilities would mean jobs for locals. These opportunities for employment, as well as education, are all in the vein of both high-tech, and scientific research. Currently, interviews are being held to find operators for the facilities, who will need to apply for licenses upon hire.
How did this come about?
The Isle of Man plans for a medical cannabis cultivation facility are pretty extensive. So how did this all come about? And why there specifically? We’ll start with why there specifically. As it happens, Isle of Man is the home to billionaire John Whittaker, the chairman for the Peel Group, which is a property company based in England. ‘Peel NRE’, the company making the plans, is a part of the Peel Group. Thus, this project is being conducted where the Peel Group operates most, in the UK.
The reason for this to happen now, apart from it being a good time post-pandemic to get in on it, is that laws recently changed in the country. Isle of Man never legalized use of cannabis for residents, but it did legalize the cultivation, production, and exportation of products in June of 2021. According to Laurence Skelly, the Enterprise Minister, this move makes for a “significant opportunity for economic development”.
He went on to say, “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.” As of a 2019 public consultation, about 95% of the residents of the island are onboard with growing medical cannabis there. According to the new legislation, the Gambling Supervision Commission is the body responsible for regulating this new industry.
The country isn’t trying to leave out its own population, and the Health Department is currently going over ways to allow the import of cannabis medicines, as well as providing medications for those who hold prescriptions from UK doctors. Whether this part will actually go through is less sure. What is for sure, is that the governance of the Isle of Man, definitely wants to get in on the weed cultivation and exportation game.
For now, this project by Peel NRE is only meant to grow for the pharmaceutical market. There is no global market for exporting recreational cannabis at the moment, so any country that wants to get in on the industry, must do it with medical cannabis until that changes. With more countries becoming legal for recreational use, that change will likely happen soon enough, but isn’t relative until it does. It’s expected that later this year Peel NRE will officially submit a planning application. This project, assuming it goes through, could create one of the biggest cannabis cultivation facilities in the world.
The UK and cannabis
Isle of Man straddles the line of being an independent nation and a dependent state to the UK. As it legislatively is tied to the UK, the UK’s position in the cannabis world is important. In both the regular UK and the Isle of Man, cannabis is illegal for recreational use, but legal (to some degree) for medicinal use. Though Isle of Man is only now getting that part together, the UK legalized medical cannabis in 2018 with a doctor’s prescription.
What’s interesting about this, is that the UK is also one of the biggest global exporters of legal cannabis. Part of the reason for this, is that the UK is home to GW Pharmaceutical, which is one of the biggest cannabis pharma companies in existence. In 2016, for example, the UK produced 95 tons of medical cannabis, excluding hemp products. This amounted to 44.9% of the global total for that year. It exported 2.1 tons of this, which amounted to 67.7% of global exports for that year.
On the other hand, while that sounds like a lot, it barely compares to the exports of two other countries. Morocco holds the largest illegal export market, which exported approximately 36,000 tons of cannabis resin in 2017. China holds the largest legal hemp export market, though specific numbers are not reported on.
What is known, is that just domestically, the hemp market is expected to bring in over $1 billion annually, and that when it comes to cannabis oils, China topped the list in 2019, exporting 33.4% of all cannabis oil exported on a global level. The cannabis industry is a dynamic place, though, and these numbers outdate themselves quickly.
In recent years, things have shifted on the international stage, with numbers for exports increasing, and Canada taking the lead for legal marijuana exports. In 2020, Canada exported some 15.6 tons of dried cannabis flower and about 7.3 kilos of oils and extracts. It is still expected, however, that the UK exports the most actual cannabis medicine in the form of Epidiolex and Sativex, as they are products of GW Pharmaceutical.
It’s not uncommon for towns and cities to sprout up around large factories or other businesses. Sometimes entire towns exist of employees to an operation. Since Isle of Man is small, it could very well turn into a cultivation country, with the majority of residents involved in the cannabis industry. We’ll let you know more, as the story unravels.
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