Is hemp legal in Europe: current status in 2020
There would be some confusion between hemp and marijuana. And for those who are questioning, is hemp legal in Europe? The Brussels and Cologne-based European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) was officially established in 2005 and are the only industrial organization serving the hemp sector in Europe.
The current status of the hemp industry in Europe and the implications of future reforms in the popular agricultural policy are defined by Lorenza Romanese, managing director of EIHA.
What are Europe's hemp industry's biggest obstacles at present?
Hemp must be viewed as a global market, like every other field. Actions are taken in the US or China, therefore, have a strong effect in Europe as well as elsewhere.
Think about the collapse in stock prices, for example. The most noticeable indicator of the current competitive market is that the stock price fluctuations of publicly traded medical cannabis and CBD. Chinese firms are continually being questioned. While their share prices have changed dramatically up to the first quarter of 2019, they have fallen sharply after investment banks made a profit. Also, due to a decrease in prices. Nevertheless, several publicly traded firms have not fulfilled their predictions, despite the normal market trend. In addition, they have small and underperforming properties.
There is a surplus of biomass in the EU today. The CBD ‘hype’ also leads to market turmoil, resulting in an exponential increase in the number of farmers, producers, and investors. As a result, both hemp production and downstream goods are now over-supplying and the value chain is being reduced. Europe needs to handle output and distribution equilibrium more productively.
The majority are in the turmoil of the situation
The THC thresholds are another obstacle. Although the majority of countries in the world have recorded an approved amount of THC for hemp of up to 0.3 percent, some (Thailand, Uruguay, Switzerland, Australia). This must also be said that, until 1999, when the cap was cut to 0.2 percent. The European countries had already worked under a 0.3 percent THC standard. As a result, the EIHA supports restoring the 0.3 percent cap in Europe to this level.
For one thing, the scourge of the vaping market was low-quality goods. Meanwhile, the EU institutions need to draw up a transparent and stable policy for goods produced from hemp in collaboration with the hemp industry. There are already many rules for food, animal feed, cosmetics, and other products. The only additional action that must, therefore, be taken will be to apply them to hemp products and ultimately to fill up the gaps.
In the 2021-27 Common Agricultural Policy ( CAP), what are the changes about hemp?
In recent years the hemp sector has grown very quickly and extensively across Europe. In fact, boosting the high demand for food and non-food products. However, this development has not been accompanied by an appropriate level of regulatory implementation. Thus, setting standards for a transparent, safe, and high-quality product. While ensuring proper controls on imported goods. CAP reforms represent a fantastic opportunity for hemp farmers. Because sometimes, as most of the people tend to forget, and hemp is primarily an agricultural crop. Therefore, legal changes should also first be incorporated in the basic law.
To create a regulatory structure for hemp and make use of its vast green potential, EIHA is looking to leverage the opportunity presented by the CAP change. Therefore, EIHA demands that Parliament implement additional changes about one top of the benchmark 0.3 percent for THC. That has already been proposed and approved by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament. To the list of items that could be subject to marketing requirements, for example, hemp should be included.
To ensure the proper functioning of the common market and the clear protection against illegal products. Notably, unique marketing regulations are necessary and may present grave risks for the health of humans and animals. Unfortunately, hemp can not do this today.
In addition to these, the EIHA has asked the European Commission, claiming that hemp should be included in the list of goods to bear a geographical indication. And to create a market observatory for hemp. We are currently sponsored by MEPs.
Will the EU follow a more consistent approach in the production and regulation of cannabis and CBD policies?
A genuine single market will only ensure a standardized approach for products based on hemp. If Europe ends up with 27 different approaches and limits, there will be no hemp market in the EU. Hence, it is paramount that EU rules governing the hemp sector be harmonized.
The regulations to be implemented must serve the dual mandate to protect customers. Without disrupting or jeopardizing the activity of the Single Market. Today, this double mission in the EU has not achieved a balanced situation.
How will European hemp manufacturers ensure that they stand out in an increasing market with the world's demand for CBD and hemp products rising?
If the following requirements are met, Food and Drink Organizations (FBOs) will remain:
- Creating and establishing long-term consumer relations;
- Check back to EU legislation and changes in policy;
- Offer additional high-quality products and do not deceive labeling;
- Do not spread consumer disinformation in any way, shape, or form to promote a product.
But, in the next hemp field, EU operators will work well. The EU has helped to get used to the high standards of quality for all goods, particularly food. The same method is going to take Hemp.
What the general public should know about recent developments in the European hemp industry?
The recent changes to the EU cosmetics catalog (called CosIng) are one of the most recent developments worth mentioning. The DG GROW updated the CosIng catalog (a non-legally-binding database containing data regarding cosmetics and ingredients) in April 2019 to include some context. Which included only synthetic CBD, and without relation to CBD obtained through plant extraction according to conventional methods. Included in this database were not legalistic data.
Since EIHA found this not to be satisfactory (synthetic CBD is a source of hazardous waste production. And extremely costly) and because the plant-based CBD should be included in the catalog, EIHA asked Dg GROW for a new term for cannabidiol and three new INCI entries.
EIHA justified its stance by claiming that only when the extract or tincture or resin of cannabis sativa L extracted, pure cannabidiol ( CBD). Especially in cosmetic products should be forbidden from being used. The industrial hemp special. DG GROW has updated its database in November 2019 by saying ‘cannabinoids from every part of the plant including flowers are a legal ingredient in cosmetic products.’
The EIHA also welcomes the help of the Slovak Public Safety Authority, which sends the letter to EIHA stating: ‘cannabidiol can be used as a pure (natural or synthetic) substance in a cosmetic product. As well as extracts from plants and cannabis sativa seeds.’ More work needs to be done on this file, of course; as EIHA is awaiting the CosIng root extract entry, and the CBD entry that was naturally extracted from hemp leaves is now included in the catalog.