Jersey Cannabis Services Advisory Group (FOI)
Jersey Cannabis Services Advisory Group (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 25 February 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Please provide the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Health Minister and the UK Home Office underpinning the establishment of the Jersey Cannabis Agency.
Please confirm the date it was signed and the agency officially established.
Please can you confirm the membership of the Jersey Cannabis Services Advisory Group established by the Minister for Economic Development?
Please tell us the date it was established, the terms of reference of the group, the number of times the Minister (or another Minister / Government representative - stating in each case who) has met with the group (or members of the group), and when?
Please provide the minutes of any meetings of the Jersey Cannabis Services Advisory Group attended by any Minister or Government representative.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Home Office is confidential and not for disclosure. The MoU contains the following provision at the request of the Home Office “Except where there is a legal obligation to do so, this MoU will not be published or otherwise placed in the public domain without the consent or the other participant, and the presumption should be that consent would be withheld on account of grounds of security and integrity of our respective Departments.” Article 41 (International Relations) of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 has therefore been applied.
The MoU was signed on 9 October 2020. The Health Minister, as the licensing authority under the provisions of the Misuse of Drugs (Jersey) Law 1978, is designated as the Jersey Cannabis Agency for the purposes of the MoU and the provisions of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961.
The Jersey Cannabis Services Advisory Group is currently an informal industry-led body that has been established by those businesses that had applied for licenses to cultivate medicinal cannabis and those that may wish to invest in this emergent industry. It is not policy to disclose the names of those that have medicinal cannabis cultivation licenses on the grounds of security.
The group was established by the private sector to provide Government with a view on commercial industry development issues, rather than a formal group established by the Minister(s) with specific Terms of Reference. The group has met once via Microsoft Teams, prior to licenses being issued, on 17 November 2020. Neither the Minister for Economic Development Tourism, Sport and Culture nor the Minister for Health and Social Services attended the meeting. Officials from Infrastructure, Housing and Environment and Economy were in attendance at the inception meeting, primarily to hear the initial aims and objectives of the group and to explain how Government was intending to develop the sector. Government liaison with the members of the group is currently through direct approaches to either the Group Director, Economy and / or the Chief Pharmacist and / or the Head of Plant Health depending on the subject / issue.
No formal minutes were circulated by the group.
Article 41 International relations
(1) Information is qualified exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice relations between Jersey and –
(a) the United Kingdom;
(b) a State other than Jersey;
(c) an international organization; or
(d) an international court.
(2) Information is qualified exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice –
(a) any Jersey interests abroad; or
(b) the promotion or protection by Jersey of any such interest.
(3) Information is also qualified exempt information if it is confidential information obtained from –
(a) a State other than Jersey;
(b) an international organization; or
(c) an international court.
(4) In this Article, information obtained from a State, organization or court is confidential while –
(a) the terms on which it was obtained require it to be held in confidence; or
(b) the circumstances in which it was obtained make it reasonable for the State, organization or court to expect that it will be so held.
(5) In this Article –
“international court” means an international court that is not an international organization and that was established –
(a) by a resolution of an international organization of which the United Kingdom is a member; or
(b) by an international agreement to which the United Kingdom was a party;
“international organization” means an international organization whose members include any two or more States, or any organ of such an organization;
“State” includes the government of a State and any organ of its government, and references to a State other than Jersey include references to a territory for whose external relations the United Kingdom is formally responsible.
Public Interest Test
The public interest in respect of Article 41 is weighted in favour of maintaining the exemption unless equally strong countervailing public interest arguments favour the disclosure of the information. It is recognised that there is a public interest in providing transparency about individuals with whom the Government have liaised. However, having considered the public interest, the Scheduled Public Authority concluded that the public interest in disclosing this information is outweighed by the public interest considerations in withholding the information, in support of the Island’s interests and to avoid any potential prejudice to the Island’s relationship with the United Kingdom.
Article 42 Law enforcement
Information is qualified exempt information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice –
(a) the prevention, detection or investigation of crime, whether in Jersey or elsewhere;
Public Interest Test
This is a qualified exemption and as such we have conducted a public interest test as required to assess whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in supplying the information is outweighed by the public interest in not doing so. It is recognised that there is a public interest in providing transparency about membership of the Jersey Cannabis Services Advisory Group. However, having considered the public interest, the Scheduled Public Authority concluded that the public interest in disclosing this information is outweighed by the public interest in withholding the information, in order to prevent potential criminality and maintain security within the island.