A billionaire real estate tycoon is behind plans for a medicinal cannabis factory, which have just been unveiled.
John Whittaker, a regular on the Sunday Times rich list, who lives in the south of the island, is the chairman of the group which hopes to build a development on the outskirts of Douglas.
Regeneration and clean energy company Peel NRE wants to build what it calls a “Science Innovation and Research Center Sustainable Energy Park” and a medicinal cannabis facility.
The proposals follow a change in the legislation on the production and export of cannabis in the Isle of Man.
In January 2021, a resolution was passed to legalize the cultivation, production and export of medical cannabis, although it is still not legal to use it here as a recreational drug.
Peel NRE says the facility, planned for a 72-acre site, would create a “unique opportunity for the island to become a leader in the emerging medicinal cannabis sector”.
Its planning application will include details for the first phase of the development, including two units for the cultivation facility as well as an access road, engineering works and preliminary landscaping.
There would also be a solar farm, an electrical substation and a surface water lagoon – and the science research and innovation center would include offices, laboratories and conference space.
Located on the corner of Cooil Road and New Castletown Road, he said the program would create “high quality technical jobs” and help the island “develop local talent that will contribute to research into cannabinoids for pharmaceutical use”. .
Peel says the facility could bring between £90m and £180m of investment to the island’s economy.
“By incorporating and building on innovative technologies found in cannabis facilities around the world, the development will set a benchmark for the burgeoning cannabis industry, enabling the island to lead the way in medical research and best cultivation practices,” the company said. said.
The statement continued: “The multi-million pound development will represent a major investment in the Isle of Man, bringing economic opportunity to the local supply chain, from construction through to operational stages.
“It will generate high-quality technical jobs by establishing a destination of scientific and technological excellence showcasing the island’s innovation and capitalizing on the sector’s global growth.”
Head of Planning and Development, Stephen Snowdon, said: “The Isle of Man Government is seeking to establish an innovation hub on the island, dedicated to the production and export of products derived from cannabis serving the medical and pharmaceutical markets.
“We are delighted to present our proposals to help create a new export market, more jobs and attract a range of specialist science and research and development industries to the island to support the local economy.
“With 20 years of experience delivering transformational projects and in-depth knowledge of the island, we are in a strong position to help the government succeed in this growing emerging industry and we invite the public to have their say. on these plans.”
Peel NRE’s parent company, The Peel Group, owns and manages 12 million square feet of property.
Among its strengths are the Trafford Center and Media City of Greater Manchester, as well as parts of Liverpool Docks.
The company said the fact that its major shareholders have resided on the island for more than 40 years made the decision to expand here “easy”.
The company is asking people to submit their views on the proposal before a planning application is submitted.
This can be done by visiting www.peelnreconsultation.co.im (where plans can also be viewed), emailing [email protected] or calling 01624 812 048.
People can also register online for two webinars, which will take place on February 23 and March 3 at 6 p.m.
Comments submitted by March 7 will be reviewed by the project team.