The world is aflutter with changing cannabis regulations. The Americas are certainly pretty green, and Europe is opening up more and more as well, including legalization measures (or the direct plans for one) in Malta, and Switzerland, and tons more getting close, like Germany. Not only that, countries like Georgia, Thailand, and Lebanon, are setting firsts for their regions in terms of legalization policies. One of the more interesting stories right now when it comes to legalizations, is a bill to possibly re-legalize cannabis in the country of Nepal.
A bill to re-legalize cannabis in Nepal would get the country back to where it was before it was pressured by the US to change laws. Thanks for dropping by our independent news publication focusing on cannabis and psychedelics stories. Stay with us by signing up for THC Weekly Newsletter, which also puts you in first place for deals on tons of cannabis products, likes vapes, edibles, and smoking equipment. Plus, we’ve got loads of cannabinoid products on offer including the highly popular delta-8 THC. As always, *cannabinoid products are not liked by everyone. We do not promote a consumer buy a product they are unhappy with.
Cannabis and Nepal
Cannabis has only been illegal in Nepal since the 70’s. In the 60’s and 70’s, cannabis was fully legal in the country, and was a big part of the ‘Hippie Trail’, a huge land trail that went from Asia to Turkey, through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, and India. It was known as a hippie adventure place, and was rife with the use of marijuana. In Nepal, it ended at the appropriately titled Freak Street in Katmandu. Freak Street operated much like Freetown in Christiana, Denmark, where drugs are openly used, and nothing is done about it.
The trail, and Freak Street, were responsible for bringing a lot of tourism through Nepal, and by 1972, Nepal was very big on the hash-exporting scene. The trail itself attracted many hippies for the sheer fact that it was a cheap way to travel, with plenty of hitchhiking, or buses and trains that traversed the area. Hippies aren’t usually big fans of capitalist society, so the hippie trail also served as a place for spiritual enlightenment, off the beaten path.
There was not just one specific route of the trail, and many started in either London or Amsterdam, and made their way through Yugoslavia and Greece. From that point, there were different choices. A relatively standard route was to go through Ankara to Tehran to Kabul, through the Khyber Pass, then to Peshawar, onto Kashmir and then Goa. Trail seekers could choose their specific path based on where they wanted to go in the region.
The trail has once again been picking up steam as a low cost method of travel and adventure. However, the travelers are not quite the same. Gone are the days of the hippy, replaced by modern day travelers who look more like young professionals out for a holiday.
In the early 70’s the US and the UN were pressuring countries to harshen up their cannabis laws, and Nepal folded under the pressure in 1973, cancelling growing licenses, and forcing shops to close down. Nepal relied heavily on the cannabis industry, and this was a major hit to the GDP of the country.
That year, cannabis was re-categorized as a narcotic, and made illegal. Freak Street predictably died out, as dealers were deported from the country, and all legal industry closed. The Narcotics Drug (Control) Act henceforth made it illegal to buy, grow, or process the drug in any way. The law went on to state that possession was subject to prison sentences or fines, or to treatment programs depending on the situation. As nothing more was stated, this left a non-specific law, which could be interpreted differently. Over the years, these different interpretations have sometimes led to those caught with small amounts, being given years long prison sentences.
What the law didn’t do, was rule out actual use, leaving Nepal with inconsistent laws. This contradiction is mirrored in other countries like Georgia; which legalized use, without legalizing buying, selling, or cultivation. This creates a logical fallacy, as something can’t be used, if it can’t be possessed.
Nepal continues as a large supplier of black-market hash domestically, and abroad. Supply crimes of up to 50 grams, are met with three months in prison and about a 3,000 rupee (~$39) fine. Suppliers caught with 10 kg or more, might be put away for 2-10 years and fined 15,000-100,000 rupees (~$195-$1300) . Possession of small amounts *should only lead to a short prison term (about a month) and about a 2,000 rupee (~$26) fine.
Even medically, Nepal really made a turn, ruling out all parts of the cannabis plant, including CBD. The law held that all extracts or essences of the plant, are illegal. And though Nepal has a strong background in ayurvedic medicine, for which cannabis is certainly a part, Nepal also has no medical cannabis program.
Legal for a day
One of the interesting things about Nepal, is despite instituting these harsh laws, especially considering the deeply embedded cannabis culture of the country, it did hold out in one way. The Mahashivaratri Festival. This festival is a yearly Hindu tribute to the goddess Shiva. General sacred days are celebrated on the 14th day of the dark half of a lunar month, and when that 14th day is in Magha (January or February by the Gregorian calendar), it becomes the Mahashivaratri Festival.
The holiday is associated with feasts, fairs, parties, big celebrations, and the legal smoking of weed. Technically, it’s only legal on that day for religious use in temples, but it ends up being a day of widespread and open use. The only day of the year when people can feel a little more comfortable publicly smoking.
The Mahashivaratri Festival is considered the most important day in Nepalese culture. The day before it is a fast day, and the holiday starts with a night ceremony. It creates an interesting paradox that the country is entirely weed illegal, except for one day of free smoking. This is reminiscent of India and its bhang loophole, that allows for the legal use of a cannabis drink, while otherwise holding the plant as completely illegal.
Incidentally, the government was actually supplying weed to the temples prior to the 90’s. It stopped around this time as it became frowned upon for the government to supply a drug which it designated as illegal, to its population. Up until that time it certainly created a contradiction for the government to arrest people for possession 364 days a year, and then provide the drug back to them on one day a year.
A bill to re-legalize cannabis in Nepal
All of this started to change in the last few years as general policy all over the world has undergone review and update. In 2020, the ruling communist party came together with a group of other legislators from different parties, to push for a motion to re-legalize cannabis in Nepal. The main purpose of this motion was to boost the economy.
After that, a formal bill was put out there in 2021, also to re-legalize cannabis in Nepal. The Corona pandemic slowed down progress, as it did all over the world, but as things pick back up, Nepal has been re-examining the re-legalization bill. This new law would set certain specifics, like that anyone in possession of cannabis for personal use could face a month in jail, and that those found guilty of sale and supply crimes could face up to 10 years in prison, with the exact time frame depending on the amount they were caught with.
According to Health minister Birod Khatiwada, right now, approximately 9,000 people in Nepal sit in prison for cannabis crimes. Of the new bill, he said, “I am trying to make it a campaign and issue in Parliament because many countries including the most powerful and developed countries have allowed the use of marijuana.” He continued, “The new law would ensure that the benefit is not going to go to one industrialist or small group of business people but rather it will benefit the poor farmers who would use their small plots of land to grow it.”
Considering that Nepal instituted its laws at the behest of countries like the US, it makes sense for the country to change tack, now that the countries that put pressure on it, are changing their own laws. In the US, for example, about half the population live in places where recreational cannabis is legal, and the vast majority live in a place where at least medical cannabis is legal. No reason for Nepal to follow long ago orders by a country no longer following them itself.
Nepal is not the only Asian country looking to make some major changes. Thailand is also in a flurry of changing legislation these past couple years, and is also eying a recreational legalization. Not only has Thailand already decriminalized cannabis, and taken cannabis off the list of narcotic drugs, but it also instituted policies for home-growing for private use. Other Asian countries like China and Japan maintain much stricter policies, and are not yet headed toward looser measures.
Will the effort to re-legalize cannabis in Nepal go through? It looks quite possible. Considering the circumstances that made it illegal in the first place, if it does act to re-legalize cannabis, it will be like Nepal setting the record straight after years of being off track.
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Snortable Shrooms: The New Magic Mushroom Nasal Spray
Magic mushrooms are taking center stage as research points in the direction of the fungus’s many mental-health boosting qualities. Though tea’s, and eating raw mushrooms have been the norm, new technology will let you snort your shrooms with a new biopharma-made magic mushroom nasal spray.
A decade ago, the idea of a magic mushroom nasal spray would have been laughed at and rejected. Now it’s something that will likely be on store shelves whenever possible. We specialize in reporting on the expanding cannabis and psychedelics fields. Follow along by signing up to The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, and make sure you’re in first place for all new product promotions, as they begin to come out. We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. Head over to our “Best-of” lists to get these deals, and remember to enjoy responsibly!
What’s the news?
A couple weeks ago, reports surfaced of Israel biopharma company Madrigal Mental Care’s new magic mushroom nasal spray. The new device was recently unleashed at the Biomed Israel Life Science and HealthTech conference in Tel Aviv, which is an international conference that took place earlier in May. The device is geared toward treating those with PTSD, and provides exact dosing via a nasal inhaler that goes inside the nostril.
The nasal spray is a nano-technology based delivery system, which can deliver nanoparticles of psychedelic medicines like psilocybin, more directly to the brain, without going through the digestive tract. The medicinal molecules are encapsulated in nanoparticles, which themselves are biodegradable, and break down in the body to release the medicine. The nasal inhaler can be used for more than just magic mushrooms, and is spoken about for use with ketamine, mescaline, and MDMA as well.
Stated cofounder and chairman of Madrigal, David Gabay, this system makes for “a significant advantage over common practices in terms of stability and accuracy.” He continued about current trials: “We are currently beginning preclinical trials with rodents with the aim of achieving efficacy and safety approvals in order to begin first-in-human clinical trials next year.”
The device was designed by Prof. Amnon Sintov of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s biomedical engineering department. He said, “An increasing number of studies point to the advantages of using psychedelic drugs for the treatment of psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and even addiction, with low doses.”
He went on, “Due to their powerful effect on the human brain, it is imperative to be able to deliver these drugs in a safe manner and in precise doses.” The current non-human trials are being carried out with psilocybin, led by Prof. Shimon Ben-Shabat from Ben Gurion’s department of biochemistry and pharmacology.
The technology which was developed at Ben Gurion University, was licensed to Madrigal by Ben Gurion University’s tech transfer company, called BGN Technologies.
Is this the first of its kind?
Actually no. This is not the first magic mushroom nasal spray announced. The first one came out several years ago in 2019. At that time, Silo Wellness out of Oregon created its own magic mushroom nasal spray for use with PTSD and depression. The device was developed in Jamaica, where magic mushrooms are legal and openly sold, and provides for metered dosing of the active component psilocybin.
At the time, according to board advisor Becky Rotterman, “Many psilocybin patients, particularly women, complain of upset stomach or vomiting when taking high-doses of mushrooms… We want to bring this wonderful natural medicine first to Oregon and then the flyover states – to those who would be afraid to eat a handful of fungi and who feel more comfortable seeing their medicine in a familiar delivery modality, such as a metered-dose nasal spray.”
While this certainly doesn’t say much for what a person expects treatment to look like, or the implication that people are actually happier with what looks like a pharmaceutical, over what looks like nature, this nasal inhaler marked the first of its kind concerning the delivery of psilocybin nasally.
Mike Arnold, the founder of Silo Wellness, said he created the device after his first experience with psilocybin, in an effort to make it easier for people who don’t have the luxury of benefiting from a medical setting, for their experience.
“I couldn’t help to think how fortunate I was to have an actual physician take me on my first trip rather than ‘some guy’ I know, but I realized that most first-time users don’t have that luxury,” he said. “I reached out to my long-time colleague from the marijuana space, brilliant inventor Michael Hartman, and we agreed that we need to be able to give patients predictable dosing so they can self-titrate into the desired levels of sub-psychedelic or psychedelic treatment.”
He concluded, “We solved the age-old problem with plant- and fungus-based medicine: How do you know how much is a dose? How do you avoid taking too much, like the cannabis edibles dilemma? We also managed to solve one of the common complaints of some mushroom users: taste and upset stomach.”
Much like with Madrigal, this first news story was more a press release for the product’s existence, than a new product offering. Since that time, Silo has established a patent for its product in June of 2020. The company is patiently waiting for regulation on the new magic mushroom industry to be released in Oregon, so it can begin dispensing its product. While it waits, it promotes its Marley One non-psychedelic mushroom product line.
Now we know that magic mushroom nasal spray is a thing, but how else can magic mushrooms be taken? We know that smoking them isn’t terribly effective because psilocybin breaks down in heat. Though some say they may have felt something (not the most convincing of statements), others complained of feeling sick, or just simply being disappointed.
This also makes it necessary to make teas out of mushroom powder in order to retain the effects, considering the thermal lability of psilocybin in heat. Drinking it as tea is similar to eating a mushroom, in that it still goes through the digestive tract.
Skin applications are also growing in popularity. Though mushroom products on the market now don’t have psilocybin, due to regulation, there are a bunch of interesting products taking advantage of other medical benefits of non-psychedelic mushrooms. I expect when legalizations do come through, these companies will be quick to incorporate compounds currently illegal for use, into their products. Unlike eating raw mushrooms or drinking tea, skin products bypass the digestive tract.
So far, injecting these compounds isn’t really a thing, though it has been mentioned in some studies. Many compounds are more easily absorbed when taken via IV or IM administration, but this doesn’t mean everything works this way. It is quite possible that as research continues, we may start hearing about mushroom injections in the future. For now, best to focus on forms of administration that are already cleared as safe for use.
The other application getting a lot of attention right now are magic mushroom skin patches. There are different models under testing and they come in different forms. Skin patches are a basic mode of medication delivery that are used for a range of things from pain management, to birth control administration, to help removing warts. The basic idea is that there’s some kind of adhesive, with medicine within or around it, that gets absorbed into the skin over time, making for an even dose over many hours.
A couple companies are already creating magic mushroom skin patches in this way. Nova Mentis (NOVA) and Mycrodose teamed up to produce skin patches particularly for the genetic condition fragile X syndrome. Ei.Ventures and Tioga research also partnered up and are getting in on the action, with their psilocybin skin patches meant for transdermal delivery of psilocybin, as well as other psychedelic compounds.
However, even this standard model is under construction. The Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (TIBI) recently partnered with Pharma Ther, Inc. (PHRM) to create microneedle patches. These patches differ in that they contain tons of microneedles on the surface layer that penetrate the skin to leave the medicine within. These patches are made of a gelatinous substance, and are currently under investigation for use with MDMA, LSD, DMT, psilocybin, and ketamine delivery.
It’s always cool to see something new and technologically advanced come out. And it’s always useful to have better treatment options. In the next few years, we should see tons of applications involving magic mushroom usage in products like nasal spray, skin patches, skin creams, and possibly more. We’ll just have to wait to see how far this goes.
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Publicly Traded: Which Psychedelics Companies Completed An IPO
The world of investment is a big place with a ton of offerings. In the last few years, a new genre of company has been added to the list of possible corporations to invest in. Yup, there are now a plethora of publicly traded psychedelics companies, and they’re all just getting started.
The world of publicly traded companies is always expanding, and now includes psychedelics companies. This was unheard of just a few years ago! We’re a news platform specializing in the psychedelics and cannabis industries, and the important stories within. Keep up with us by signing up for The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, and also be first in line for all product promotions, as they come out in the upcoming months.
What is an IPO?
There are different kinds of businesses. Some are small and operated by one person. Some are massive and span several continents, with thousands of employees. The latter, though it could be a private company, is most likely publicly traded.
A publicly traded company is one that sells its shares on a stock exchange, like the New York Stock Exchange, or the London Stock Exchange. The stocks reach the exchange via an initial public offering, or IPO, which is the opening sail of a company’s shares. Through the IPO, anyone in the general public can purchase a portion of the company, meaning that it’s not owned by a single person or group, but by whoever owns its shares. One of the benefits of doing this, is the ability to get capital together for expansion. One of the deficits, is losing control of a private company to a group of shareholders.
Public companies generally have a CEO and board of directors, as well as shareholders. Who holds the most power can vary between organizations. Decisions can be made by the board, which is generally made up of high level executives, or the shareholders by way of voting. All public companies are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, under the eye of the PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board).
If a company does not go public, its control is retained by the smaller number of owners or investors that it has, and decisions are made at the behest of this smaller group. In some cases it’s a single person making these decisions. In some cases, a private company can be very large, like Cargill, the largest privately held company in the US, which boasts a staff of 113,000.
Anyone legally able with enough money can purchase shares of a publicly traded company on whatever exchange it exists on. For example, the biggest exchange for stocks in America is the New York Stock Exchange. But there are also other exchanges like the Nasdaq for buying and selling securities, and exchanges in other countries like Euronext, the EU’s biggest exchange.
One aspect of publicly traded companies is that they must report certain financial information to both the government and investors. This is not the same for private companies, which don’t have to release as much information, and can be more secretive about overall earnings. For some industries that hover mainly in the black or gray markets, there isn’t always much data released, and its through the reporting of public companies that we get any sales information at all. The cannabinoid market is a great example of this.
Since publicly traded companies are more closely regulated by federal agencies, they must be tax-paying companies, operating above-board. They might employ shady tactics, but they can’t be black market companies. As such, in order for publicly traded psychedelics companies to exist, they must not sell products or services that are federally illegal.
Publicly traded psychedelics companies
Psychedelics are making a huge comeback in light of study after study showing their benefits for both a myriad of psychological issues, as well as pain. In fact, psychedelic medications are now repeatedly showing up standard pharmaceutical remedies in both avenues, with the drug ketamine (and its legalized counterpart esketamine) taking the lead, highlighting the ability for better depression and pain management. This is especially important because of the ongoing and increasingly bad opioid epidemic which claims tens of thousands of lives a year.
Other compounds like psilocybin and MDMA are getting close to legalizations as well on a federal level. In fact, the FDA has helped structure trials with more than one company studying these compounds, to ensure trial results meet all regulation. The FDA also issued ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ status to three companies studying MDMA and psilocybin, in order to get their drugs to market faster.
One organization that received such treatment is MAPS – (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) which is currently in Phase III trials into MDMA for PTSD. MAPS, however is not a corporation, but a non-profit group. Another organization that received this help from the FDA is COMPASS Pathways (CMPS) which is researching psilocybin for treatment resistant depression. COMPASS Pathways is a publicly traded psychedelics company on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchanges.
Other companies that join COMPASS on these two exchanges, include Field Trip Health, Inc. (TSE), one of the biggest operators of ketamine clinics; MindMed (MMED), a Swiss biotech company investigating how LSD and MDMA can be used in combination; and Atai Life Sciences (BMV), a company that acquires business in the psychedelics space, and which is one of the psychedelics company with the greatest market capital in 2022, topping $860 million. As of October 2021, there were at least nine publicly traded psychedelics companies on both the Nasdaq and NYSE.
However, some publicly traded psychedelics companies are traded elsewhere. In fact, the majority reside on the OTC Markets Group, which includes the OTCQX (highest tier), and OTCQB (mid-tier). Companies that show up here include Pharma Ther (PHRM) which is developing microneedle psilocybin skin patches for medical purposes. Mindset Pharma (MSET) which is working on psilocybin analogues, which are stronger than the standard compound. Delic Holdings Corp (DELC), another chain of ketamine clinics that just bought out Ketamine Wellness Centers Arizona LLC, with major expansion plans.
Then there’s Wesana Health Holdings (WESA), a developer of neurological health therapies, which announced in summer 2021 its acquisition of Psychedelitech, Inc. And Nova Mentis (NOVA), a company in the psilocybin skin patches space, working in conjunction with Mycrodose. All together, as of October 2021, there were at least 27 publicly traded psychedelics companies on the two top tiers of this exchange.
The lowest tier of the OTC exchange is called the Pink Open Market, and several more psychedelics companies reside here. One such company is Levitee Labs (LVT), which joined the Exchange in 2021, and is a producer of mushrooms and associated products. Another is Small Pharma (DMT), which is currently conducting the world’s first official DMT trials into depression along with Imperial College London. Another is Red Light Holland (TRIP), a Netherlands company that sells truffles in the legal market in the Netherlands. And Numinous (NUMI), a wellness company specializing in holistic treatments with psychedelic medicines. Altogether, as of late 2021, at least 14 companies were on this tier of the exchange.
On the international stage, one of the biggest publicly traded psychedelics companies is Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) out of Ireland, a Nasdaq company which announced its acquisition of GW Pharma in 2021. GW is a British pharmaceutical company and the maker of leading pharma medicines epidiolex and Sativex, the reason that the UK is one of the biggest cannabis exporters in the world.
Other companies not necessarily based around the US exchanges include Clarify Pharma (PSYC), a British company which is an investment platform that promotes psychedelic medicines, and which can be found on the Aquis Growth Market for equity and debt securities. Neon Mind (NEON) a Vancouver-based company working on psilocybin weight loss treatments, which resides on the Canadian Securities Exchange. And Graph Blockchain (GBLC), a blockchain company out of British Columbia, which recently acquired mushroom company Shroom Streets, making for a marriage between tech and treatment. This company can also be found on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
For those interested in private and public psychedelic investments, this list contains both companies in their respective spaces. For those interested in investing in private companies, and have the ability to do so, its best to contact the individual companies to speak with their management as shares are not open to the general public. For the right investors, private companies are great opportunities, though they won’t apply to most of the investing world.
If the idea is investment, interested investors should go through the publicly traded psychedelics companies to find the ones that best suit their investment needs. As a dynamic industry with many moving pieces, the landscape is sure to change soon enough, and those getting in on the action, would be wise to keep their eye on daily changes to promote safe and profitable investments. If you’re still unsure about investing in this marketplace, give it more time, and see if its any more appealing in a few months, or a year, from now.
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Isle of Man to Build £100 Million Cultivation Facility
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 first in line for deals on a collection of cannabis products from vapes and edibles, to smoking paraphernalia. Also, it’ll get you premium access to deals on cannabis flowers, vapes, edibles, and much more! We’ve also got standout offers on cannabinoids, like HHC-O, Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC, which won’t kill your bank account. 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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