"Compliance Standards Code" for the Medicinal Cannabis Act in Gibraltar

Updated: Apr 6

Last year, Parliament in Gibraltar voted in favour of the Medicinal Cannabis Act 2021, which would theoretically provide for the regulation of an entire supply chain surrounding the lucrative global industry that is medicinal cannabis.

Minister John Cortes, who is the one responsible for bringing the Bill to the House, said; "we are of the view that this new industry, comprehensively regulated to the highest standards, could well create an innovative and thriving sector of Gibraltar’s economy that could lead to quality employment and export opportunities to different jurisdictions", and that "it is vital that we remain open to such new opportunities to maintain our economic growth".

But how do we implement and maintain the industry?

Typically, jurisdictions implementing medicinal cannabis will publish regulations surrounding Standards and Compliance (or a "Code" in this case, as stated in The Act; the "Compliance Standards Code" perhaps?), which includes topics such as traceability (seed to sale), permitted cultivation practices, extraction methods, water source testing, drying, sanitation, storage, general SOPs, etc., to name but a few.

This will, and no doubt, has to be implemented before any governing body begins the process of accepting applications for any type of related activity, as without it, there is no clear direction for prospective licensees.

The Cannabis Commission

The Cannabis Commission, which has yet to be established, will (supposedly, according to The Act) be the authority responsible for handling these applications. The hope is that the appointed individuals will have thorough knowledge of the sector, so that they are able to properly understand and manage the needs of potential licensees wishing to operate in this space.

Indeed, they will at least, in theory, be responsible for the set up and maintenance of all the technological infrastructure, procedures and documentation required in order to successfully implement a comprehensive framework by which companies should operate, as well as how the Commission should regulate these entities.

This would likely include:

  1. Standard Operating Procedures, and how these would apply to different types of license holders.

  2. GACP/GMP requirements, and mock/real audits and accreditation by relevant providers.

  3. Seed to Sale software and hardware, including which providers are best suited for operations in Gibraltar, as well as a centralised Government database for keeping an eye on all activities undertaken by local companies, etc.

  4. Liaising with selected lawyers on the practical implications of any proposed legislation, and helping draft any amendments or future supplementary "Codes" as stated in The Act.

  5. Overseeing the entire process of vetting and licensing all applicants.

  6. Ensuring applicants understand all relevant legislation and standards which they must adhere to, before granting them a license.

  7. Providing guidance to applicants and licensees, pertaining to how operations could and should be undertaken in Gibraltar.

  8. Regular site visits and inspections, to ensure all licensees are operating within required regulations and standards. As is evident, the implementation and maintenance of this industry will require an immense amount of work from the regulators, and this requires The Commission to be comprised of (at least, in part) individuals who have previous knowledge and expertise within the industry, perhaps who've already advised Governments in other jurisdictions on similar matters and/or who have a history of conducting operations, ranging from cultivation, to extraction and product development.

Want to know more?

On Wednesday 20th April, Hempire are speaking at a webinar, hosted by the GACO on the upcoming Gibraltarian cannabis industry.

Click on the link below for access:


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