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