A Jersey-based start-up has secured the British Isles’ second only license to grow pharmaceutical-grade cannabis for profit, more than two decades after the first license was issued.
Northern Leaf has been licensed to cultivate cannabis for medical use by the Jersey government under UK Home Office rules and is preparing to grow marijuana in a 75,000 square foot greenhouse. It plans to start supplying drug makers in the UK, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Portugal by the end of this year.
“Demand is increasing globally and the market is currently under-supplied,” Campbell Dunlop, managing director of Northern Leaf, told the Financial Times.
Northern Leaf, which was founded two years ago and received its license in December, is the second only company to have obtained a UK license for the commercial cultivation of marijuana. GW Pharmaceuticals, was first licensed in 1998.
The Jersey group will face off against cannabis producers established elsewhere in Europe. These include Aurora Cannabis, which owns 100,000 square feet of greenhouses in Denmark, and Tilray and Emmac, which have 160,000 square feet and 300,000 square feet respectively in Portugal, according to investment firm Chrystal Capital, which helped Northern Leaf build raise funds.
As North America dominates the cannabis investment market, interest in Europe is increasing. In September, the FT reported that Chrystal was looking to raise up to $ 200 million for a new cannabis investment fund.
The European medical cannabis market was valued at 330 million euros last year, according to Brightfield Group.
Mr Dunlop, who described obtaining the license as “a huge step forward,” said he expected Northern Leaf’s first shipment of cannabis to reach half a ton – Emmac produced around. 10 tons last year. The license is for a site with a maximum capacity of 400,000 square feet, he added.
Northern Leaf, which is not disclosing its owners, said it has spent £ 12.5million buying and redeveloping property and expects to invest an additional £ 6million this year. It also aims to double the workforce of 35 employees.
The company raised £ 3million in capital in January last year through Chrystal, which is also preparing to launch a £ 5million funding round next week.
A little bit of internet research reveals the following
Campbell Dunlop has more than 26 years of experience as an entrepreneur and team leader. After starting and managing several successful export-oriented agribusinesses in Africa, he applied his business acumen to design and implement market-driven agriculture programs in frontier and conflict-prone environments. His support to the Burmese melon and sesame sectors increased the bargaining power of producers in export markets. For example, he worked with MFVP to restore transparency to transactions in a disjointed, exploitive melon sector, and to develop quality-based grades/standards for melons, giving producers a more equitable negotiating position with China. In Afghanistan, he designed and implemented early-stage system interventions that transitioned activities from direct, heavily subsidized assistance to coaching of firms and service providers. A key success was coaching the Kandahar Fresh Fruit Association (KFFA) to pilot and adopt improved post-harvest storage technology, enabling pomegranate and grape producers to obtain more than a fourfold price increase in the domestic market (exceeding export prices). He strengthened agribusiness support services and worked with input providers on service delivery mechanisms to smallholder farmers, including embedded extension delivery models and segmented marketing. He has designed solutions to address barriers faced by women entrepreneurs in conflict environments, including working with an MFI in Somalia’s challenging business environment to develop a credit facility targeting women-owned SMEs that facilitated enterprise investments of more than $2.5 million. A trusted leader, and cross-cultural communicator, he managed a staff of 26 in Afghanistan.
Chief Executive Officer
Company Name Northern Leaf Limited
Dates Employed Feb 2020 – Present
Employment Duration1 yr
Location: Jersey Channel Islands
Chief Executive Officer for Northern Leaf Limited, a large commercial agricultural company in Jersey, Channel Islands. Responsible for overall management, making corporate decisions, managing operations and resources of Northern Leaf Limited, acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors (the board) and corporate operations as well as being the public face of the company.
The Jersey Evening Post reported 22 July 2020
RETROSPECTIVE planning permission is being sought to convert the former Tamba Park playground building into a pharmaceutical-grade hemp farm.
Northern Leaf Ltd has lodged an application to turn the site into an agricultural facility.
Jonathan Ruff, who owns the property, first revealed his plans for the complex in January, saying that it was likely to be up and running within months and that a third-party company, of which he was a shareholder, would run the operation.
He previously received permission to erect fences around the site, despite objections from nearby residents regarding noise pollution and odours.
However, Mr Ruff said that the agricultural operation would have less of an impact on neighbours than its previous tourism function. If the application is refused, the applicant could be forced to stop using the building for agricultural purposes.
A design statement accompanying the application says: ‘This planning application seeks formal (retrospective) approval for the internal modification of the existing building, removing existing partitions and framework associated with the former play-zone functions and the creation of a new internal partition layout to facilitate the new spatial agreement.
‘It is accepted that the existing building historically was associated with agriculture, being part of the Eastern Retreat Farm glasshouse. It was subsequently formally changed in use to provide commercial space associated with the previous Lion Park facility and then subsequently Tamba Park play zone.
‘This application seeks the department’s approval for a section of the building, as identified, its change of use back to its former agricultural use that being ancillary to the agricultural function of the adjoining eastern glasshouse.’
According to its website, Northern Leaf Ltd cultivates ‘pharmaceutical-grade’ hemp, using ‘state-of-the-art tracking systems, robust protocols and policies to ensure the highest levels of quality from seed to sale’.
The Bailiwick Express reported as far back as November 2019
Express can reveal that there are plans to turn the Tamba Park site in St. Lawrence into a hemp farm, with growing expected to start in spring 2020.
Former owner, and now part-owner, Jonathan Ruff today confirmed that plans are well advanced, and that a new company has already been formed with a licence granted for hemp production.
Mr Ruff is one of a number of shareholders in the new business.
“We are quite far along,” said Mr Ruff. “The company has had its licence to grow hemp granted and we have started to sort out the glasshouses that surround Tamba Park to put them back into agricultural use.”
In July 2018, Mr Ruff failed to get plans passed for a holiday park on the glasshouse site, primarily due to opposition from residents who argued the site should remain reserved for agricultural use. He’s hoping for a better reaction to the new plans.
Pictured: Tamba’s dinosaurs will be replaced by a hemp crop.
“I’m expecting residents to be having a party because my planning application for a holiday village was rejected because of its bad use of agricultural space. All the complaints were that it should be used for agriculture. Guess what, they’ve got it, it’s now being used for agriculture!”
“For me this is the next best option,” he said. “I can’t stand being an entrepreneur and seeing buildings that can be used for business just standing there. This whole industry, medicinal cannabis in Jersey, is great for the economy. It is a profitable product if done right and the tax generated from that would be great for the island. It is genuinely a positive thing.”
The glasshouses on the site have a surface area of around 350,000 square feet.
It’s anticipated the whole Tamba Park site will be used for the new venture: “There’s not a great deal from a Planning perspective that we need to do. Whether we have to knock one (glasshouse) down and rebuild is what we’re looking at but only replacing with existing. It’s internal modifications we need to consult with planning on. Right now it’s just building control, so creating internal rooms for growing of the crop.”
News of the plan comes after the children’s play park, also known as the ‘Dinosaur Park’, was closed to the public in June.
Just months before, memberships were phased out in favour of individual entry fees.
In September Mr Ruff announced to his Facebook followers that he was planning to re-open the outside area of Tamba Park and invited suggestions from the public on how best to use the area. This now looks unlikely.
“For the time being it will not be re-opened for leisure use. We want to find a use for it, and if it can be used for the agricultural side of the business that’s what it will be used for. If not, we will look at other uses.”
A major blaze at an adventure park was sparked by the use of welding equipment on the teeth of a giant dinosaur, a fire service has said.
“Dangerous” black smoke was visible across Jersey as a result of the blaze at the island’s Tamba Park.
The fire – reported at around 12:30 BST – engulfed vehicles and gas cylinders before it was brought under control at 14:45.