Hemp market and legal status of hemp across Europe

The industrial hemp market is growing rapidly, and that’s just a fact! In the last 5 years alone, the cultivation of hemp across Europe has dramatically increased. The ‘hemp craze’ also exploded because of the entry into the market of light cannabis, a hemp with inflorescences with a low THC content (below 0.6%) but with a higher CBD, which allows operators a high ratio between profitability and sustainability. There are a lot of hemp seeds suppliers, such as Sensoryseeds.com, that are currently providing excellent choices in the hemp market. Suffice it to say that it is possible to collect at least 500/600 kilograms of dry product from one hectare of field cultivation with the right production techniques. Last year the inflorescences were sold by farmers at prices ranging from 60 euros per kilo to 4/500 euros.

The current hemp market, and the potential of hemp in the future

According to recent research by Davide Fortin, Research Associate of the Denver Marijuana Policy Group and PhD student at the Sorbonne University of Paris, the minimum annual turnover of the light cannabis market is worth around 44 million euros, for an equivalent of at least 960 jobs. However, this business could also be worth hundreds of millions and a much more relevant occupation if the legislation allows the plant to be exploited in full and not in part. The hemp market generally has a valuation that exceeds hundreds of millions of euros. CBD extracts represent the most important part of this market due to the added value that the extracts are able to give to the flower, and also due to the fact that global demand is growing strongly. In many countries, there is a strong potential for the export of the agri-food sector, even if the THC limits for this specific sector still need to be clarified both at the national and European levels.

Hemp provides benefits for both body and mind

The cosmetics branch is also relevant, above all, for the therapeutic effects demonstrated in the use of hemp-based cosmetics. We also talk about the building sector, on which it is important to reflect on the costs of raw materials and the subsequent evolution of these costs. In fact, these depend above all on the proximity of the crops to the first processing centers, which work the hemp straws from the supply chains and then divide them into the two constituent parts, the shives and the technical fibre, which can then be integrated for various industrial applications. Public incentives are needed to support investment in constructing these kinds of centers in places at most 70 kilometers away from cultivated land. This would allow operators to make the most of all the components of hemp, for example, with dual-purpose supply chains that can fully work both the seed and the stem and in addition, there would be positive consequences on other sectors such as the construction and other technical industries, as the constant production of raw materials at a lower cost would be guaranteed, increasing their competitiveness against other building materials.

As far as the textile sector is concerned, the situation is more complex. The evolution of this market depends a lot on the possible breakthrough of the technological barrier to find alternative methods to maceration, which has strong externalities also at an ecological level.

As for the law in Europe, it can range from country to country. Bulgaria, for example, was the first European country that legalized CBDs sale; however, only if it was made from industrial hemp. Italy was another first to legalize CBD. Countries like the Czech Republic can appreciate the benefits regulated hemp product sales can bring to the economy and society. Portugal, which was the first to decriminalize the use of all drugs back in 2001, has authorized the cultivation, distribution, purchase, and possession of cannabis. In December 2021, Malta was the first country in Europe to legalize the self-production and consumption of cannabis for recreational purposes. According to the law, adults can own up to 7 grams of inflorescences, grow up to four seedlings per family and store up to 50 grams of dried cannabis at any one time, all without incurring any legal complications.

Conclusion

The worldwide trend is that more and more countries are slowly legalising certain hemp products and their extracts. It is important to research these changes well to see what is legal and where. The law differs even between neighbouring countries in Europe. Most of these laws have to do with the amount of THC present in a product. There are many THC-free products, and these tend to be legal. It is still important to familiarise yourself with the specific legislation in your area before you purchase hemp products.

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