First legal Cannabis production factory to open on island of Ireland, third in UK

The first legal medical cannabis factory on the island of Ireland is set to open, which will be the third in the United Kingdom.

The facility will be based in Belfast, Northern Ireland and is on course to start production next year 2024.

Growth Industries Pharma Ltd is the company behind the plan to deliver a “high security, climate-controlled facility” that is expected to be up and running within 12 months.

In a sign of the times, the company is aiming to exploit the Windsor Framework and export to Europe, an option not freely available to businesses on the British mainland so there is a definite dual British-Irish focus for this operation.

As reported by the Belfast Telegraph, the regulations around this business are very highly controlled.

There are two existing legal cannabis production facilities in Britain, given that medicinal cannabis has been legal on prescription in the UK since November 2018, but most of the current uptake is processed through a number of private clinics in Britain, not the NHS.

Unique position for UK – EU trade

Peter Reynolds, Growth Industries’ director of communications, believes that there is great scope and a vast potential market for the venture as well as sensitive security issues to be mindful of, especially in Northern Ireland.

Reynolds confirmed his firm has been liaising with the police, as part of the overall plan.

“We had a very positive reaction from the PSNI when we told them about our plans initially.”

“There are two other facilities in Great Britain, but clearly any facility that opens in Northern Ireland is in that unique position, especially with the Republic’s medical cannabis access programme. We hope as well to be able to export to the European Union, that we’d be in a unique position to do that.”

“In terms of the security arrangements, they are as secure as can be.”

“There are about 30,000 patients throughout the UK, but we know from YouGov research there are around 1.8m people in the UK using medical cannabis but buying it illegally.”

The legal and regulatory process is outlined in the report, in an industry that will evolve and develop further as more is known about medicinal cannabis.

As for Growth Industries, they will aim to hit the ground running over the next couple of years to test the post-Brexit waters of NI that allow for trade with the EU as well as the rest of the UK.

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Written by

Graeme Hanna

Graeme is a freelance writer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland who has been writing full-time for the last three years. He specialises in football and Rangers FC in particular, as well as being on top of news and trending matters. His work has been published in titles such as Rangers Review, Give Me Sport, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon and the Belfast News Letter.