Agricultural land usage for Cannabis production (FOI)
Agricultural land usage for Cannabis production (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 26 June 2023.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Planning and Building (Cannabis) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Jersey) Order 2023
In January 2022, in response to prior questions raised about unlawful development concerning glasshouses, the former Environment Minister was asked why he wanted to make changes to the Planning and Building (General Development) (Jersey) Order 2011 (GDO). He then stated in correspondence (OQ.7/2022), "I have visited two sites where businesses are seeking to set up cannabis-growing facilities, and subsequent to these, it was clear to me that the amount & nature of building work required to form these facilities is different from what most islanders might expect within an agricultural glasshouse. At present, many of these changes can be carried out without planning permission, but in order to bring them within planning control, I consider that modest changes are required to the Order.
According to the department, this development was permitted under GDO Part 3 Class AA, which refers to repairs, maintenance and minor works. The full explanatory note (R&O.160/2015) also states, internal alterations that do not amount to a material change or internal building works as defined by law.
I now see that GDO Part 3 Class AA & Schedule 2 use Class D Agriculture, a building used for agricultural purposes have been amended so that development is not permitted if the building is to be used, in whole or in part, for the purpose of cultivation of plants of the genus Cannabis or the production of products including any part of, or derivative from, plants of the genus Cannabis, or the purpose of the alteration or operation is to enable or facilitate such cultivation or production.
Agricultural land is governed by two agricultural land laws, and GDO Article 1 stipulates that "agricultural land", means land to which the Protection of Agricultural Land (Jersey) Law 1964 applies, unless the context otherwise requires. The Agricultural Land (Control of Sales & Leases) (Jersey) Law, 1974, referred to as the principal law adopted on 20 October 1978, states the definition of "agricultural land," means land, including land under glass, used or capable of being used for any purpose of agriculture or horticulture, but does not include any dwelling house or outbuilding. Furthermore, neither is "agricultural land" included in Part 3, Class AA, or Schedule 2 use classes. Therefore, will any further changes be made to the laws in relation to agricultural land under glass defined as land & not a building?
Agricultural sites and applications have also been approved on the basis that this is an agricultural activity. However, most, if not all, of these sites will be or are currently processing the cannabis plant in some way to produce pharmaceutical products for sale, which is classified as a chemical industry under the Planning and Building (Environment Impact) (Jersey) Order 2006 and an industrial process under the law. Therefore, shouldn't the primary and permitted use of these sites be industrial?
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