The Jersey Times reports…

Last year, after a licence was granted by Health Minister Andrew Green, three former firefighters began planting hemp at a previously secret location, which is now known to be the former States nurseries site, Warwick Farm.

Just 2½ vergées (ée)were planted but now, following the success of the first crop, which was recently harvested, 277 vergées are due to be planted at a number of locations around the Island.

Seeds from the hemp plants are pressed locally to make hemp cooking oil and cannabidiol (CBD) oil – a substance thought to have medicinal properties which has increased in popularity in recent years.

It is not the first time hemp – which is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species – has been grown locally. During the late 19th century the plant was grown extensively and, once harvested, was used to produce rope and sails for ships.

The idea of growing hemp is part of a larger initiative to diversify Jersey’s agriculture industry, with tea and honeyberry crops also being planted in other parts of Jersey.

One of the farmers behind the hemp project, Dave Ryan, chief executive of Jersey Hemp, said that the first crop had grown extremely well despite having to endure spells of poor weather.

‘We brought a hemp farmer over from the UK to help us harvest the crop and he was amazed at how well it had grown,’ he said.

‘We planted around 30 days later than the UK farms but he came over a month after we planted and he said our crop was already much bigger than other farms.

‘We had all sorts of weather, from 30°C heat to really windy storms, but the plants just breezed through it.’

Mr Ryan added that he was now waiting for fields to dry out and Jersey Royals to be lifted so that he could plant his next crop, expected to cover around 277 vergées.