Volteface, a drug advocacy group, has recently announced their “Pleasant Lands” campaign to raise awareness of the hemp industry in the UK and the antiquated restrictions placed on them. “Pleasant Lands” will present the UK government with a policy solution to address the shortcomings of the current UK hemp market.
Currently UK hemp farmers need to apply for a Home Office-issued licence in order to grow the crop. The hemp must be from EU approved strains that do not exceed 0.2% THC. As of this moment UK hemp farmers are only permitted to harvest the seeds and fibre from the plant.
Despite CBD and CBD products being legal in the UK, farmers are not permitted to process their plants to create CBD. In fact, all leaves and flowers that are found to have high concentrations of CBD must be destroyed to comply with the current regulations.
This leaves the UK hemp farmers without a major source of revenue and makes it nearly impossible to compete with growers from the US or mainland Europe. Despite containing little to no THC hemp leaves and flowers are still classed as a controlled substance.
Benefits of Growing Hemp
This new campaign from Volteface wants to aid with the “green recovery” of Britain. Hemp is very good for the environment. It’s fast growing, which allows it to absorb CO2 from the environment at a very efficient rate of 15 tonnes of CO2 per hectare. The use of hemp for producing paper could reduce the rate of deforestation by halting the worlds reliance on paper made with timber. It can be used to create sustainable biofuels, which would reduce the UKs reliance on imported fossil fuels.
At a time when the looming fear of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic has severely impacted the UK economy, the loosening of regulation on the hemp industry could increase economic growth and improve the environment. As it stands now, the UK producers lag far behind their EU counterparts and destroy the most valuable part of the hemp crop.
Volteface is working with hemp farmers and experts on hemp production and regulation. They are currently partnered with:
- Gary Grant: Vice-Chairman of the Institute of Licensing and barrister at Francis Taylor Building
- Robert Jappie: Specialist in Cannabis Law & Regulation and Partner at Ince
- Dr Henry Fisher: Chief Scientific Advisor at Hanway Associates
UK hemp farmers have been hamstringed
The report is due for release at the end of summer 2020 and according to the Volteface press release, “[will show] how the current licensing framework disadvantages British hemp farmers, the economic and environmental benefits of allowing CBD extraction from hemp.”
The UK hemp farmers have been hamstringed by old and out of date regulations for a long time and change is needed if they want to compete with growers from the rest of the EU and beyond. Liz McCulloch, Director of Policy at Volteface, had this to say about their new campaign,
“With the UK on the brink of deep recession, Volteface will be presenting the government with a primed policy solution that will drive up economic growth and jobs and support green recovery.”
If you’re interested in finding out more visit the Volteface Website.