Isle of Man suspends medical cannabis program due to coronavirus


While the Isle of Man government has passed laws that would allow licensed companies to grow, sell and export medical cannabis worldwide, it is now reported that general practitioners are unable to prescribe the drug to those in need due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the BBC, the Isle of Man has suspended its grand plans to allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis. Health Secretary Dave Ashford said the issue was still on the agenda but his department was very busy fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

He said, “With everything else the DHSC is doing right now – we are absolutely stretched to the limit – has to give something, or the department will give.

“To be completely frank, there are other things that have a higher priority.”

Medical cannabis in the Isle of Man

Following a public consultation in which the island’s citizens overwhelmingly supported cannabis reform, government minister and prominent medical cannabis attorney Ashford told Canex last November that 2021 is a big one for the future of medical cannabis on the island Could be meaning.

According to the Department of Enterprise, a regulated medical cannabis market would bring £ 3 million annually to the island’s budget.

Mr Ashford then said, “Even if drug policies were relaxed, medical cannabis would still have to be a prescribed product. It would have no over-the-counter availability.

“The most important change could be that the drug will be prescribed by more practitioners than just those registered in the specialist register.

“However, the timing of the change in regulations would depend on a variety of factors, such as the availability of draft legislation, consultation of practitioners and, ultimately, parliamentary approval.”

In January MPs unanimously supported a proposal to update the 1976 Drug Abuse Act.

Part of the plan is that certain companies and people who live and work in the Isle of Man can apply for a license that will allow them to work with the cannabis plant.

Documentation costs between £ 250 and £ 45,000. According to the government, this will create 250 jobs in the medical cannabis sector.

Mark Rutherford, of the island’s Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) proposed to regulate the cannabis industry, said, “The island has a track record of being an early adopter of new sectors.

“Over the past 20 years, as the regulator of the island’s eGaming sector, the GSC has developed expertise to keep the industry crime free, protect consumers and create transparency. This experience complements the skills required in this new and emerging sector.

“This is an exciting opportunity and we have a sophisticated framework for monitoring gambling that can be easily adjusted to regulate the cultivation and processing of cannabis.

“We recognize that this new sector has enormous potential to generate really positive economic benefits. So we need to make sure we treat the new cannabis sector the way we treated the gambling sector: licensees who are knowledgeable, credible and crime free from the start. ”

What’s next?

With the latest government decision, the opening has been delayed.

While MP Douglas South MHK Claire Christian said IOM should follow Jersey’s lead and have some GPs prescribe the drug, HM Dave Ashford said the pressure on the department eventually shifted focus.

As a result, there is currently no known date when the island will begin trading and working in the medical cannabis market.