European hemp cultivation has substantially increased over the last several years, making room for many interested U.S. stakeholders to join the burgeoning market.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) addressed the hemp industry boom in the EU in its recent report “European Union: Market Trends and Regulations for Industrial Hemp in the European Union.”
One of the motivations behind the hemp trend is to reduce fossil fuels and carbon-intensive products.
“Hemp cultivation offers a range of environmental benefits, including carbon storage, erosion prevention, increased biodiversity, low to no pesticide requirement, and breaking disease cycles in crop rotation,” the report says. “The hemp plant’s dense leaves create natural soil cover, which can reduce water loss and protect against soil erosion. In terms of biodiversity benefits, the hemp plant’s flowering cycle creates large amounts of pollen, which supports the pollination of other crops.”
U.S. Stakeholders Welcome Under These Conditions
However, there’s an economic side to the coin as well.
According to the EU’s approval of a Common Agricultural Policy, expected to take effect in early 2023 and last for four years, hemp farmers are eligible for an electronic transfer of funds to make payments for certain varieties. The only condition is that their hemp contains up to 0.3% THC by dry weight, the report specified.
However, there are exceptions. “It’s possible to plant hemp with THC levels over the EU limit if it is authorized by national regulations,” the report continues while urging U.S. stakeholders to pay attention to hemp regulations that vary from country to country.
“Please note that EU Member States may also apply more restrictive rules,” the USDA said. “U.S. producers seeking to export to the E.U. must comply with the same EU rules and requirements regarding seed production, certification, labeling, and packaging as seed harvested in the EU. The marketing of propagating material of hemp is not protected by EU legislation.”
Interestingly, Europe is making progress on the cannabis side as well. While medical cannabis companies are flourishing in countries like Germany and Portugal, several European countries gathered earlier this year to weigh in on possible challenges on a pathway to recreational marijuana legalization.
The initial meeting attended by lawmakers from Germany, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands is one of many planned multilateral discussions focused on future cannabis regulations. Future summits may include officials from other countries in the European Union.
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