A cannabis farm will soon be lighting up Guernsey after the island awarded its first ever growing licence to a company led by a woman whose husband's passing led her to seek alternative natural remedies.
Celebrated Ltd's licence was granted by Guernsey's Committee for Health and Social Care to be used on a disused vinery site.
The company had already been given permission to create a "processing and packaging" area on the land, but now has been given the green light for growing cannabis there.
The variety involved will be "low THC" - the chemical that responsible for producing psychoactive effects - but "high" in CBD, which is believed to have positive effects for those suffering from certain medical conditions including MS, epilepsy and the side-effects of cancer treatments.
The company is also behind the island's first 100% dedicated cannabis products shop, the Original Alternative. It was set up by Director Tina Bolding, whose husband's cancer led her on an eye-opening journey to seek alternative natural remedies and a better quality of life for those who are suffering.
Pictured: One of the products sold in 'The Original Alternative'.
It was while Mrs Bolding was desperately seeking a cure for her husband that she became aware of the benefits of the oils. Sadly, he died before she could use her newfound knowledge to help him, leaving her determined to share the treatment which she is convinced would have made a difference in his final months.
Her store opened in August last year, and sells organic CBD oils and other herbal remedies.
The licence which has been approved, was granted on the advice of the Chief Pharmacist, Ed Freestone, after a number of requirements were satisfied. These included:
While many have celebrated the news, the planning approvals process wasn't entirely smooth. Nine Guernsey people made representations against the planning application to develop the former vinery site, but these were not enough to stop permission being granted.
Pictured: Mrs Bolding said that growing cannabis could be positive for Guernsey's economy.
Mrs Bolding said her cannabis shop had been going well - “hundreds of islanders have already tried our cannabis oils and are reaping the benefits" - but that having her own processing plant would help produce refined oils and "even better products".
Planting is expected to begin within weeks. Mrs Bolding said the firm’s fully-equipped laboratory will allow them to produce products compatible with any jurisdiction, “allowing Guernsey to be a leading light and trend setter in the current cannabis evolution”.
She added: “Guernsey’s unique and forward-thinking legislation is allowing greater scope for the research and development of this emerging therapeutic market. This is an opportunity for the island to lead the way in helping people globally through the specialist knowledge base we are creating on-island".
This, she said, will also have a positive effect on Guernsey's economy.
Pictured: Jersey does not have any cannabis farms, but industrial hemp is grown at Warwick Farm.
"...It also means we can resurrect Guernsey’s proud growing tradition: where the once thriving tomato growing industry has given way to derelict glasshouses, we will now able to breathe new life into the sector. We will be on hand to advise and help locals develop the industry and guide them through the licensing process.”
Across the Channel Islands, an Alderney company has already looked at the possibility of growing hemp – a relative of the cannabis plant – on the island. But the laws could be changing in the near future, as Guernsey's States are set to look further at medicinal cannabis options, and intend to probe how far the Class B drug should be criminalised.
Meanwhile in Jersey, Warwick Farm-based Jersey Hemp has been cultivating and growing industrial hemp to create products such as cooking and CBD Oil.
Pictured top: Celebrated Ltd Director Tina Bolding and the disused vinery site that will be developed into a cannabis farm.
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