Isle of Man public back growing cannabis for medicinal use

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The consultations on medicinal use cannabis and industrial hemp ran for six weeks

There is "very strong support" on the Isle of Man for allowing cannabis to be grown for medicinal use, a public consultation confirmed.

Ninety-five per cent of respondents were in favour of cultivating and processing the plant for medicinal purposes, provided it was regulated.

The consultation attracted an "overwhelming" 3,285 responses, Health Minister David Ashford said.

The ability to buy medicinal cannabis over the counter at pharmacies was supported by 55% of those who took part, while a further 36% backed medical professionals being given more freedom to prescribe the product.

However, 62% were not in favour of the drug being prescribed to children.

The number of responses was "amongst the highest" received since the government's online consultation system was introduced two years ago, Mr Ashford said.

'Progressive policy'

Medicinal cannabis is cannabis consumed with the aim of reducing symptoms of a medical condition as opposed to its recreational use to achieve a sense of euphoria, often referred to as a "high".

Dr Alex Allinson MHK, who had called for a relaxation of the laws surrounding cannabis, said he was "very impressed" by the level of response from the public.

"The overwhelming majority were in favour of a progressive policy with access through GPs and pharmacies."

He said he expected the government to "establish a robust, regulatory framework to encourage this new chapter of sustainable agriculture on the island to produce medicinal cannabis and other products for home use and export".

In a separate consultation surrounding the production of industrial hemp on the island, 97% of the 1,012 people who took part backed the introduction of a regulatory framework to allow it to happen.

Mr Ashford said: "It's clear that there is an appetite for a thoughtful approach to changes to regulation concerning both medicinal cannabis and the cultivation of industrial hemp."

Politicians would now "consider our next steps", he added.

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