One of the largest hemp farms in the UK forced to destroy crop

One of the largest hemp farms in the UK forced to destroy crop

The case of UK’s not-for-profit farming co-operative Hempen illustrates the extra hurdles British hemp farmers face, not being able to use the flowers, the most valuable part of their crop.

In the UK, a license from the Home Office is required to grow hemp. Applications must be done online. The fee for new applications is £580 ($645) and renewals cost £326 ($363). [I wouldn’t mind deleting this if you think it doesn’t add much]

Last November, the Home Office published a factsheet stating that “licences may be issued for the cultivation of cannabis plants with a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content for the production of hemp fibre for industrial purposes or the obtaining of seeds which are then pressed for their oil.”

The factsheet clarifies further that the policy “does not allow for use of ‘green’ material- i.e. the leaves and flowers as these are controlled parts of the plant.”

Hempen had been growing hemp since 2014, which up until last year was used to manufacture and sell CBD products.

The co-operative announced last week that the Home Office revoked its license to grow hemp, forcing it to destroy its 40-acre crop located in central England.

According to Hempen, the crop destruction means a lost revenue of £200,000 had the company used the crop exclusively to sell hemp seed oil and hemp protein powder -without using the flowers-. Had it been able to harvest the flowers to manufacture CBD products, it could’ve generated £2.4 ($2.93) million revenue at retail price, of which £480,000 ($586,934) would have been tax revenue.

“Hemp is an incredible economic and ecological opportunity, yet the UK government seems to see it as a problem. The crop destruction is financially devastating and also has an impact on our community.” Ali Silk, Hempen Co-operative member said to MJBizDaily.

Nathaniel Loxley, British Hemp Association (BHA) member & hemp farmer told MJBizDaily that he’s worried about the disadvantage hemp farmers in the UK face when compared with neighboring countries.

“The fact that British farmers are being excluded from the £300m UK CBD industry is a huge barrier for growth. The BHA and it’s members are working hard to develop trust and transparency with a focus on enhancing the domestic value chain”, Loxley said to Marijuana Business Daily.

To minimize the economic harm, Hempen announced it will now import CBD from other European countries in order to continue to be able to supply the UK market with CBD products.

Pure CBD is not a controlled substance in the UK, but it is if combined with THC. The usually mentioned 0.2% THC limit applies only for the hemp varieties grown with a license, not for final products.

However, even products with pure CBD don’t have much legal protection because CBD was included in the novel food catalog of the European Union last January.

Substances included on this list are defined as “food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first regulation on novel food came into force.”

In the UK, the Food Standards Agency accepted “the clarification from the EU that CBD extracts are considered novel foods” but committed to find a “proportionate way forward by working with local authorities, businesses and consumers to clarify how to achieve compliance in the marketplace in a proportionate manner.”

In neighboring Germany, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety stated its opinion that CBD products need authorization either as medicine or as novel food, and as far as the agency knows, no CBD product has authorization to be sold as food so far.

Published at Sat, 04 Jul 2020 21:29:47 +0000

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