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| 4 minutes read

Hassans launches Working Group as Gibraltar Government announces imminent publication of Medicinal Cannabis legislation.

Hassans International Law Firm has today announced the formal establishment of a Working Group on Medicinal Cannabis, coinciding with the formal announcement by Gibraltar’s Minister for Public Health, the Hon Dr John Cortes, of the imminent publication of a Bill for an Act to make provision for the regulation of the production, import, export, marketing and supply of cannabis for medicinal purposes and for connected purposes. The Working Group consists of Peter Montegriffo QC, Richard Buttigieg, Ian Felice, Gemma Vasquez, Aaron Payas and Andrew Montegriffo.

The Minister explained, during his Budget 2021 address, that “Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar is supporting the efforts of the private sector to establish the appropriate legal and regulatory architecture in order to create a robustly regulated medicinal cannabis industry.  This regime will be fully compliant with the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended.  Subject to final discussions with Her Majesty’s Government in the UK, we very much expect to be in a position to publish the Command Paper soonest and certainly during the course of this year.”

The Hassans team making up the membership of the Working Group, have been very closely involved with private industry players seeking to develop this sector and with the drafting of the Bill. It is anticipated that it will be strict HMGoG policy that this industry will be comprehensively regulated to the highest standards. Only the most reputable businesses will be able to be licensed under the Medicinal Cannabis Act, with such operators being required to conduct their affairs fully in accordance with the proposed new statutory licensing regime.

Medicinal cannabis business is continuing to expand globally, with most reputable jurisdictions supportive of these initiatives. The Medicinal Cannabis Act will enable Gibraltar to seek new opportunities for economic growth and assist the private industry by establishing the relevant statutory and regulatory legal framework

.

Speaking on the formal establishment of Hassans Working Group on Medicinal Cannabis, Peter Montegriffo QC said: “The establishment of this working group is a natural next step for this firm to take. It follows the role we have developed in working with and advising a variety of prospective medicinal cannabis licensees. The publication of the Bill will add to the potential of Gibraltar’s ambitions in this area. As with gaming/gambling and cryptocurrency, we specialise in innovating and leading in the development of new businesses. We look forward to delivering solutions that work for our clients and for Gibraltar too.”

The Working Group will continue to update clients and prospects with developments in the field through Hassans’ social media channels.

Note for Editors – Excerpt from Minister Cortes’ Budget Address relating to Medicinal cannabis:

“Mr Speaker, the new potential market to which I refer is medicinal cannabis. I am pleased to report that the draft of a Bill for an Act to make provision for the regulation of the production, import, export, marketing and supply of cannabis for medicinal purposes and for connected purposes is now ready. 

The House will be interested to learn that the Government is supporting the efforts of the private sector to establish the appropriate legal and regulatory architecture in order to create a robustly regulated medicinal cannabis industry. This regime will be fully compliant with the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended. Subject to final discussions with Her Majesty’s Government in the UK, we very much expect to be in a position to publish the Command Paper soonest and certainly during the course of this year. 

At this juncture, we foresee a number of potential outcomes including: 

  1. regulatory alignment with the United Kingdom Medicines and Health Care Products (‘MHRA’) in respect of certification of local licences; 
  2. engagement with HMG departments and agencies in respect of UN Single Convention reporting and related matters; 
  3. exploring product demand that may exist in the United Kingdom that Gibraltar’s new economic sector may be well placed to supply; and 
  4. synergies arising in respect of research and the development of the sector more broadly. 

Mr Speaker, we have spared no effort to ensure that the proposed new industry is regulated fully in accordance with Gibraltar’s international obligations under the UN Single Convention. It will be the strictest policy of HMGoG that only the most reputable businesses will be able to be licensed under the draft Medicinal Cannabis Bill. Such businesses must conduct their operations fully in accordance with the proposed new statutory licensing regime. 

Finally, Mr Speaker, in respect of this subject, it is important to note that we are of the view that this new, potential industry, comprehensively regulated to the highest standards, could well create an innovative and thriving sector of Gibraltar’s economy. It could lead to new quality employment and export opportunities to different jurisdictions. It is predicted that medicinal cannabis as a business globally will continue to expand for the foreseeable future. It is vital that we remain open to such new opportunities to maintain our economic growth. This has underpinned our firm commitment to private industry by establishing the relevant statutory and regulatory legal framework. 

I trust that all Honourable Members will agree with us that we should seize the potentially positive economic prospects that a robustly regulated medicinal cannabis industry can deliver.”

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