The Cannabis Question

GSD against commercial cannabis proposal

The GSD says it is against the proposals – currently being considered by Government – to allow cannabis to be grown locally by a business for pharmaceutical purposes.

A statement adds: The relative disadvantages of attracting business like that to Gibraltar outweigh any possible advantages. While some countries may cultivate this for medicinal purposes there are significant image and reputational issues in wishing to attract this kind of business to Gibraltar.

We all know that despite our best efforts lawful Gibraltar business in financial services or bunkering is under continued scrutiny because of Spain’s attempts to paint Gibraltar in a bad light. They also do that regularly on tobacco. Are we seriously going to present them with a further opportunity to conduct a false campaign against Gibraltar by allowing a business to establish itself in Gibraltar of this type? We have no doubt that the Government would ensure that the business would act within the law but it allows others who do not have Gibraltar’s interests at heart to completely misrepresent what is going on.

Given Gibraltar’s specific circumstances, not to mention the Brexit context and the years spent fighting the Spanish propaganda machine on tobacco and financial services, now is not the time to consider becoming commercial cannabis growers.

In February 2017, the GSD fully supported a Government amendment to a Motion1 which envisaged the possible prescription of cannabidiol products for medicinal purposes in a strictly regulated environment and under clinical supervision. This would allow a minority of patients to benefit. This, of course, has nothing to do with what is now proposed which is a business to be set up for the cultivation of cannabis. This raises serious issues which go well beyond the Motion that was originally passed.

Lawrence Llamas said: “We are concerned that embarking on this cannabis initiative, at this moment in time, in Gibraltar, cannot be the best next move made by us from a PR perspective. This cannot be something we do ‘because other countries do it’ or ‘because it is fashionable’ or simply because it is lucrative. There are wider reputational issues at stake”

1 THIS HOUSE: NOTES the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 which considers the right of people to receive medical treatment; NOTES that the certain medicinal products contained in cannabis and its derivatives have been licensed by the European Medicines Agency and appear in the British National Formulary. NOTES that the Government will be guided by the Statutory Drugs Advisory Council and the medical professionals therein. NOTES that there may be patients in Gibraltar who suffer from conditions which could be treated using such products and that these should be made available for prescription by the appropriate specialist medical professionals in Gibraltar, in accordance with the licence conditions each product is subject to; NOTES that the Government has published regulations to allow for this to be undertaken; AND THEREFORE RESOLVES that the Government be commended for its actions in resolving this matter immediately and for its undertaking further research into the subject.

Hassan Nahon against cannabis proposal for export only

Statement by Marlene Hassan Nahon:It is a matter of frustration and disbelief that the Government is considering plans for a cannabis plantation in Gibraltar only for export when it could be of great medicinal benefit to local patients.

It must be remembered that when the medicinal cannabis conversations and debates began, those of us who were (and are still) campaigning for it to be legal were trying to achieve this for the benefit of those who suffer from conditions such as Parkinsons’ disease, Multiple Sclerosis or those receiving treatments like chemotherapy.

To see that Government is now entertaining a cultivation facility for export without considering legalising the plant for medicinal purposes locally, sounds like we’re planning to bolster our coffers without any regard for the potential benefits to very sick patients.

This is not about Brexit, or what is fashionable and what isn’t. This is about people’s health. What we should be doing is taking steps within controlled and regulated environments to enable this plant to heal people locally, not just to make money.

This is the answer given by Government to media questions:

The Government has been approached to consider a UK/Canadian model for the development of a pharmaceutical business in the growth of legal cannabis products. The proposal follows all United Kingdom Home Office rules in respect of this industry, of which the UK is the biggest producer and exporter in the world. The Government has not yet determined its response to the proposal, which is in keeping with Gibraltar law.