The GSC is a statutory body who currently regulates Isle of Man licensed gambling operators with international markets. The GSC is an established law enforcement agency and has various enforcement powers prescribed to it within legislation. As a statutory body and industry regulator, the GSC has the power to investigate, monitor and take appropriate action against suspected and confirmed breaches of terms.
Previously, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had the power to make Regulations and licence activity which would otherwise be unlawful under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1976. Given the nature of this new opportunity and the industry’s potential for growth, there is a need for clear regulatory guidance and oversight.
As this new sector focuses on exportation only, it was agreed that regulating and licensing the new sector should be transferred to a function of government better placed to consider the aspects of licensing, vetting and supervision. The GSC was identified through its historic success in regulating complex emerging industries.
What do the changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act/Transfer of Functions Order mean?
The Transfer of Functions (Licensing of Cannabis, etc.) Order 2020 transferred certain functions of the DHSC and related legislation to the GSC. As a result, the Order amended the Gambling Supervision Act 2010, under which the GSC’s supervisory activities operate.
The functions transferred include –
The issuance of licences disapplying the prohibition of the importation and exportation of cannabis;
Making regulations under the Act for certain licence holders to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess or cultivate cannabis which would otherwise be illegal;
Issuing such a licence;
The power to specify terms on which a licence may be issued;
The power to modify or revoke a licence; and
The power to prescribe a licence fee.
The new Regulations provide for the cultivation of medical cannabis for export purposes only. The changes do not allow any conduct in the Isle of Man that is not already permissible in the United Kingdom under their Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (as amended).
What role does the GSC play in the regulation and supervision of cannabis cultivation?
The GSC’s role is to facilitate the licensing, regulation and supervision of activity related to the cultivation of cannabis. The GSC has no involvement in domestic legality of prescription medicinal cannabis, or the legality of non-medical use of cannabis on the Isle of Man.
The GSC supervises licensees through a robust supervision programme which includes but is not limited to integrity tests, site inspections, testing, regular financial and harvest returns.
Where the GSC determines that a licence holder is not adhering to the conditions of the licence, it can enforce the destruction or disposal of a crop and suspension of a licence at any time.
You must be over the age of 18 to be part of the process of applying for a licence, please note only applicants satisfying all of the criteria will be successful. The Regulations allow for certain persons or entities to be eligible to apply for licences. Information on this eligibility can be found here.
Yes. Please note that while declared sanctions and convictions will be assessed on an individual basis, any persons with relevant convictions related to dishonesty or drug-related offences will not be issued with a licence. Please note you must also declare convictions deemed spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 2001.
The application process is intensive with multiple layers of checks. Once a complete application has been received, it will be officially accepted in writing within 7 working days. The application will then be allocated to an Inspector who will seek to process it within 10-12 weeks.
Once the application has been reviewed and all checks completed, a submission will be put before the Commission at a hearing. An official notification will be sent to the licence holder/applicant confirming the outcome of the decision within 3 working days of the hearing date.
Approval for With Use licences is determined on the route to market. The applicant entity must demonstrate that they have a clear and legal route to market, where they must demonstrate where the product will be exported and for what use. Please note that where cannabis is exported, certain jurisdictions may require their own, or an additional, licence to facilitate it.
For other licence applications, the applicant will be required to pass the checks outlined above.
Where an application has been refused, a letter will be sent to the applicant outlining the reasons for the decision. Depending on the reason for refusal the applicant may be able to reapply at a later date.
The supply, possession and cultivation of cannabis without a licence is illegal on the Isle of Man.
By requiring licences, consumers and investors can have more confidence in the supply chain and integrity of the industry. In particular, customers or end-users benefit from safeguards informing them of ingredients, potency and legal distribution of cannabis-derived products. Licences are granted with conditions, which enable the GSC to effectively supervise and regulate licence holders.
Licence holders are expected to adhere to the conditions of their licence, and compliance is expected to reduce regulatory burdens on the GSC. This is expected to directly benefit the industry as the GSC will be in a position to direct its resources where it is most necessary.
As with any emerging industry, precautionary measures need to be taken to ensure that both real and potential risks are identified and minimised.
Cannabis is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1976 and will have limited legal use. Through applying stringent application criteria, the GSC aims to license only high quality candidates who can operate within the Regulations to keep the industry crime-free, and we meet our regulatory objectives –
The reputation of the sector is upheld which means the sector can continue to operate safely, creating business growth and increased opportunity and enhancing the integrity of the licence
The reputation of the Isle of Man is maintained, ensuring a stable environment for local business to flourish
The young and vulnerable are protected from harm arising from any regulated activity
Crops may only be planted on cultivation sites approved by the GSC. Please note approval may be required from other agencies and the GSC may expect this is done prior to the submission of any application.
The site may not be located near residential areas, schools, main roads, pedestrian areas or areas of cultural importance.
To speak with the licensing team please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The party intending to carry out licensed activity must apply. Proof of agreement to utilise any proposed area or premises will be required to ensure that the location is being lawfully used. The applicant should also provide details of any lease agreements in relation to the land.
Yes, provided that they meet the location and security requirements. The application form contains a section in which the applicant can provide information about their proposed site(s). Please note that for each site, a plan of the area or premises must be provided.
All proposed locations should be listed on the application form.
Yes. All buildings should adhere to any planning or agency requirements related to the land in question. Applicants are responsible for seeking out permissions to change the use of their land and/or buildings.
The GSC requires licence holders to detail how they will keep the site contained and protected from trespass, destruction or theft.
No. Currently only female seeds can be planted. The applicant will have to demonstrate how they will ensure that no male plants are cultivated. Any pollinated female plants will have to be removed and destroyed.
After the 2021 season, limited licensing of male plants for indoor cultivation will be permissible for research purposes only.