Campaigners are urging the Home Office to tear up rules which are holding back the hemp industry and leaving the UK reliant on imports.
Current legislations require farmers of hemp, the plant which is used to extract valuable CBD for popular lifestyle products, to destroy 80 percent of their crop.
Domestic producers can extract CBD from the stalks and seeds but must dispose of the rest of the plant because it is controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act despite holding no psychoactive properties.
The CBD industry is already worth £300m and is forecast to grow to £1bn by 2025 but British farmers are being locked out of the booming industry, say campaigners.
Instead, CBD manufacturers import raw material from abroad, with Switzerland – which allows hemp with THC content of up to one percent to be grown legally – benefiting the most.
The UK continues to follow EU rules on THC content in hemp – a strict limit of 0.2 percent that is set to rise to 0.3 percent – but campaigners argue there is a big opportunity for the Government to diverge from the bloc post-Brexit and help the sector boom.
A new report titled ‘Pleasant Lands’ coordinated by drugs reform advocacy group Volteface is calling on the Home Office to change course.
Paul North, director of Volteface, said: “It is embarrassing that the UK has an industry which is currently worth £300 million, but British farmers are not benefiting from it.
“The CBD market must be embraced, and British cultivation would provide the UK a major growth industry to help the UK bounce back during the Covid recovery.
“Let’s back British farmers and make changes to this pointless, draconian situation.”
The report’s findings have received political backing from influential chair of the all-party parliamentary group on drugs reform, Crispin Blunt MP.
The Conservative politician said: “People in the UK, as elsewhere, deserve safe access to first-rate CBD products.
“There is no reason why Britain should not produce them, to at least as high a standard as anywhere else.”
As previously reported, the issue is being discussed in Whitehall, with Environment Minister Victoria Prentis confirming that her department will be ‘commissioning a project into the potential use of under-utilised, underdeveloped or novel crops, including hemp’.
Another of the report’s authors, Lily Temperton of cannabis consultancy firm Hanway Associates, said freeing up the hemp industry ‘will create new jobs and infrastructure, boost the economy and allow UK farmers and businesses to compete with their European counterparts’.
Rob Jappie, industry expert and partner at Ince, said: “We urge the UK Home Office to grasp this opportunity to make hemp cultivation, along with utilisation of the entirety of the plant, a central part of British agricultural policy.”
Medical cannabis cultivation gets green light in Guernsey
Businesses can now apply for a licence to grow high-THC cannabis for medical purposes.
Businesses based in the Bailiwick of Guernsey can now apply for a licence to grow high-THC cannabis for medical purposes.
In a significant step in the development of the island’s emerging cannabis industry, businesses can now apply for a high-THC cannabis cultivation licence following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UK Home Office.
Previously only licences to cultivate cannabis for CBD products were available.
According to a Government announcement on Thursday 22 July, applications will be received by the newly formed Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency (BGCA), which has been established by the Committee for Health and Social Care.
“Guernsey was one of the first to recognise the potential benefits that cannabis-based products medicinal might bring,” commented Deputy Al Brouard, president of the Committee for Health and Social Care.
“The MoU marks the start of a process that may allow these products to be produced on island for the benefit of patients within the Bailiwick and overseas. The creation of the Bailiwick of Guernsey Cannabis Agency further enhances our robust regulatory system for cannabis cultivation.”
Deputy Neil Inder, president of the Committee for Economic Development added: “Guernsey’s famous growing heritage continues to thrive within this new island industry. The MoU ensures that the Bailiwick can continue to remain at the forefront of a developing sector that provides diversification to our economy, revitalisation of our environment and new opportunities for skills and employment.
“Growers once moved into finance and now finance is moving into growing. The Committee will continue to support the opportunities available in the pharmaceutical industry and I’m very grateful for the effort all parties have made to deliver the long-awaited MoU.”
Report reveals positive outlook for European hemp farmers
Hemp producers are expecting to sell more than 80 percent of their production this year
A new industry report published this week has revealed a positive outlook for European hemp farmers.
The second edition of the Canxchange quarterly benchmark report shows a fairly optimistic outlook from European hemp farmers.
It highlights a number of factors including the “slowdown of the COVID-19 pandemic” and “better visibility due to vaccine programmes that have been implemented across the globe” – giving farmers the confidence to invest in production machinery and materials.
According to the survey, the vast majority of hemp producers are expecting to sell more than 80 percent of their production this year, with 60 percent of participants having already pre-sold the majority of production for the year, and negotiations having already begun for the 2022 harvesting campaign.
It goes on to highlight that the last few months have seen European isolate prices stabilise at €400-500, but that US products that are beginning to appear on the European market continue to put pressure on producers.
The report is part of Canxchange’s strategy to encourage a more transparent and efficient physical hemp market.
The report states: “The minor cannabinoid space is gaining more and more traction as CBD has become a very competitive market and experienced CBD players are looking to diversify into minor cannabinoids which are picking up in popularity.
“CBN and CBC prices remain stable as the supply and demand curve looks stable. Some US products are starting to appear in Europe putting pressure for prices on European producers.”
Read more in-depth coverage of the Canxchange report at Cannabis Wealth
CBD and cannabis in the UK – a few things you need to know
Are you thinking about trying CBD? Here’s a few things you should know.
Are you thinking about trying CBD? Here’s a few things you should know about how things stand in the UK.
Everybody is talking about cannabidiol, it is becoming popular all around the world. However, a lot of people get confused when they hear that CBD comes from the cannabis plant. This causes speculation on whether CBD products are actually legal in the UK.
First of all, to address the question, is CBD legal in the UK?
The answer is yes. But, it is important to be aware of the rules first so that you can enjoy peace of mind and know where you stand.
The legality of CBD products in the UK
Just like in many other countries around the world, CBD products are legal in the UK. Indeed, they are becoming popular too. A product will have to be fit for human consumption in order to be legal. In addition, it cannot contain more than 0.2 percent THC. You can dive into CBD and cannabis resources here.
You will find that a lot of CBD oils and products are going to be sold as supplements. They should not be marketed as a cure to any illness nor claiming to help with any disease.
While there are studies available that suggest CBD can be a good thing for you to take on a regular basis, this is not something that a brand is allowed to market.
THC is illegal
So, are there any CBD products that are illegal in the UK?
The answer is yes. The products that contain THC, which is known as tetrahydrocannabinol, are going to be illegal. The reason for this is, it is the psychoactive cannabinoid, which can make you feel high. It is important to note that THC is called a controlled substance in the UK. This is down to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Therefore, you want to look for CBD products that are free from THC. This is going to ensure that you can enjoy the product as intended, as well as making sure that you do not break any of the rules or regulations in the UK.
Another thing to consider is that harvesting hemp – you can find out more at 9leafs – for CBD products is currently illegal in this country.
While there is a lot of uproar about this by farmers and there are people that want the law changed, this is how it stands right now. So, as a consumer, you will have to choose imported hemp and ensure that it contains no THC.
Why is CBD popular in the UK?
If you are new to CBD, you may wonder why a lot of people are choosing to take it.
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