Spectrum says it’s time for UK hemp reform
ith the UK’s hemp farmers destroying 80% of their crop, it’s no surprise they’re calling for reform.
The CBD market is predicted to exceed £1 billion by 2025 according to a recent article on New Frontier Data – and is widely seen as an important part of the UK’s post-Covid growth. But we believe outdated legislation is limiting our momentum.
In the UK, hemp is licenced by the Drugs and Firearms Licensing Unit (DFLU) at the Home Office – something beyond most farmers’ experience – as the sale of products containing THC is highly restricted and regulated. UK hemp farmers are unable to extract CBD from leaves, buds and flowers, meaning the bulk of the UK’s lucrative CBD market is fed by imports from countries such as Switzerland, placing our farmers at an unfair disadvantage, where they are forced to destroy up to 80% of their viable hemp crop. Surely it’s time for change?
Moving to a full commercial licence would allow UK cultivators to grow and distribute the whole plant for medical or pharmaceutical use, which would incentivise UK farmers to include hemp as part of their crop rotation.
The Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMC) and Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI)’s joint “Green Shoots – Sowing The Seeds Of The New UK Cannabis Industry” paper published in May, states British growers are actively discouraged from growing hemp because of “Outdated rules governing research and cultivation” which are “the biggest barrier to capturing the value of the cannabinoid industry for the UK.” Recommendations include the Government looking at “Reducing barriers to entry, and making the UK market more dynamic and economically competitive.”
The regulatory issue is linked to EU policy and subsidies, and Brexit opens an opportunity for the UK to take the Swiss approach, and allow British farmers to benefit from the popularity of CBD.
Speaking at the Medical Cannabis Summit hosted by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, George Freeman MP said “If we can get the regulatory framework right…where there is huge demand for medical cannabis and medical cannabinoid products, then we could start to grow more of that and supply that product here in the UK. We could have an industrial hemp industry that would be good for British farming and agriculture, we would not rely on imports so much to develop these products and that would be good for the balance of trade.”
Here at Spectrum Technology, we see huge potential for British-grown, hemp-derived CBD in a more fairly regulated, competitive UK-European market and we look forward to seeing – and sharing – progress over the coming months.
If you’re looking to produce high-quality CBD oil or THC oil from raw hemp or cannabis, contact us today or find us at The CBD Show.