The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has announced that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposal has been adopted by the Council following the final vote at the European Parliament on November 24.
From 1976 to 1999 agricultural hemp producers in Europe were able to plant seeds with a maximum level of 0.3 per cent THC, which was then lowered to 0.2 per cent in order to prevent illicit cannabis cultivation. This reduction put Europe at a competitive disadvantage in the industry.
In October 2020, the European Parliament voted in favour of restoring the level to 0.3 per cent. The EIHA, which represents the interests of hemp farmers, producers and traders working with hemp fibres, shives, seeds, leaves and cannabinoids, announced that the final proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was adopted on 2 December, 2021, following discussions to agree on compromises.
The new CAP will enter into force on 1 January 2023.
Daniel Kruse, president of the EIHA, commented: “I have been fighting for this moment for over a decade. My special thanks go to our amazing team in Brussels, who have made this possible.
“This is a great day for the hemp sector and another step towards a greener future for Europe. However, if compared to other countries worldwide, 0.3 per cent is still a low limit; for instance, Switzerland, in the heart of Europe, has a higher number, and other EU countries already work with higher limits as well.
“Scientific studies and many years of experience prove that higher limits pose absolutely no safety risk for consumers. The EU lays the foundation for a growing, green and sustainable industrial hemp sector across our Union and it has the chance to achieve a level playing field again in global competition when it comes to the industrial hemp sector.”
The new policy recognises the possibility for farmers to receive Direct Payments for hemp varieties registered in the EU Catalogue that have a maximum level of THC of 0.3 per cent, a change that entails a potential enlargement of the number of hemp varieties accepted under the EU Catalogue.
However, this level only applies if farmers want to receive direct payments, meaning that in Europe it is possible to plant hemp with THC level on the field over 0.3 per cent given that it is authorised by national regulations.
Lorenza Romanese, EIHA managing director, added: “I am proud of what has been achieved today. We worked hard to ensure that hemp had the recognition it deserves in the Common Agricultural Policy. I would say that this small step reflects that EU legislators are closer to fully acknowledging and recognising the existence of a legitimate European hemp sector.
“However, as I have said other times, this is not it. We need to keep working together, as there are still other areas where hemp deserves to be better regulated, but we are on the right track.”
Flowr Corporation says strategy in Portugal paying dividends
Harvesting of high-THC strains is expected at its subsidiary’s Portugal facility by the end of January 2022.
Flowr Corporation’s CEO has commented that the company’s strategy in Portugal is paying dividends after improvements to operational expertise.
Holigen Holdings Limited in Portugal is expecting to harvest at least 300kg of indoor-grown medical cannabis in the first quarter of 2022. The company is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Canada-based The Flowr Corporation.
According to Flowr, Holigen is in the final stages of cultivating its strains BC Black Cherry and BC Strawnana, which have THC content levels above 29 per cent. The company expects to commence harvesting at its purpose-built indoor facility in Sintra, Portugal by the end of January 2022.
The Flowr Corporation CEO, Darryl Brooker, commented: “Our strategy in Portugal is appearing to pay dividends. We have worked very hard to improve the operational expertise at our indoor facility in Sintra and we are now seeing the results.
“The EU market is starved for premium medical cannabis and our team in Portugal, led by Tom Flow, is on the cusp of achieving a significant operational milestone for the company.
“We are very much looking forward to the near-term results in Portugal and see the EU as an under-valued and under-appreciated part of our business.”
The Flowr Corporation also announced it has completed its first shipment from Canada to Israel, consisting of premium cannabis across two strains for a total of (CAD)$825,000 (~£481,405), as part of a recent supply agreement.
The shipment is the company’s first into the Israeli market and the first significant international export, with additional exports to Israel expected later this year.
“We are extremely pleased to have completed our first shipment to Israel as part of our partnership with IMC and Focus Medical,” commented Brooker.
“As the Israeli medical cannabis industry continues to grow, we expect the market to be an important destination for us to grow our brand and distribution reach internationally.
“As a result, we view this first shipment and this partnership as an important next step to becoming a significant international producer of cannabis with a globally recognised brand.”
The shipment of cannabis was from Flowr’s K1 facility located in Kelowna, British Columbia.
The second shipment to the Israeli market is expected in the first half of 2022.
Cannabis cultivation agreements will work with Jamaican farmers
UK-based Apollon Formularies is aiming to increase the supply of medical cannabis through its new agreements.
A number of new agreements have been signed between Apollon Formularies and Jamaica’s Cannabis License Authority (CLA) licensed cultivators allowing access to high-quality flower.
Apollon has signed more than a dozen tripartite agreements with Jamaica’s CLA which will enable the company to use high-quality cannabis flower to accelerate processing and manufacturing. The medical cannabis products will be used for patients, clinical trials and export.
The company has also established the Apollon Kannabiz Cooperative which aims to ensure that Jamaica’s cannabis growers are not left out of the regulated medical cannabis system, allowing traditional farmers to move into the legal industry.
The company has stated it believes that the local farmers should not only “grow for us” but should also be given an opportunity to “grow with us”.
Jamaica’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Floyd Green, hailed the initiative at the official opening in Westmoreland, Jamaica, in October 2019: “Apollon is, indeed, cognisant of the need to develop a holistic sector, which does not overlook the traditional farmers.
“Indeed, let us allow our farmers to not just grow for the sector but to also grow with the sector in a meaningful and sustainable way.”
CLA director of enforcement and monitoring, Faith Graham, speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) think tank, commented: “By insisting on a standard for our licence holders and those interested in becoming a part of our local market, we are showing that we operate at an international level as we apply best practices for the global industry.
“The CLA operates a closed-loop system, characterised by a tripartite agreement that is fundamental to the industry maintaining its integrity. The tripartite agreement ensures that the ganja (cannabis) that is cultivated is sold to another licensee.”
Apollon Formularies Jamaica Limited CEO, Paul Burke, commented: “Apollon‘s goal is to reposition Jamaica’s medical cannabis industry, in terms of science, research and development, product manufacturing, affordable patient care, and legal export, while becoming an industry leader in the global pharmaceutical and nutraceutical medical cannabis space.”
“We are pleased that so many CLA-Licensed cultivators have signed tripartite agreements with the company indicating their interest and willingness to grow and provide substantial quantities of high-quality, freshly harvested cannabis buds to be used by Apollon to process and manufacture large quantities of medical cannabis products which will significantly accelerate and increase our inventory for patients, clinical trials, and export,” added Stephen Barnhill, MD, CEO of Apollon Formularies.
“We also recognise and appreciate the experience and dedication of traditional Jamaican ganja farmers and look forward to expanding the Apollon Kannabiz Cooperative to provide jobs and income to help local farmers have a better way of life for themselves and their families.”
Sativa Wellness receives food safety certificate for cannabis extraction
The certificate relates to the companies activities at its plant in Poland.
Sativa Wellness has received its ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System certification.
The certification is applicable to food safety relating to cannabis extraction at its Polish plant, which is fully licensed for medicinal CBD.
Sativa Wellness also successfully passed the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point requirements, including Good Hygiene Practice and Good Manufacturing Practice as one of the components of the HACCP requirements.
Geremy Thomas, executive chairman, commented: “We are pleased to again achieve further certifications to demonstrate the quality of the products we produce and the standards we adhere to.”
The company, which became a senior UK Department of Health and Social Care partner in the COVID-19 pandemic to provide antibody, antigen and PCR tests for travellers and at borders, says that during the audit, the certification scope “Production of plant extracts” was confirmed.
In Mat 2021, Sativa Wellness reported that its revenues increased by 377 per cent, up by £1.02m to £1.37m compared to the previous year, due to its COVID-19 related activities.
The ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System certification has been developed as a standard to acknowledge that the consequences of unsafe food can be serious.
ISO’s food safety management standard helps organisations identify and control food safety hazards to provide a layer of reassurance within the global food supply chain, helping products that people can trust cross borders.
HACCP is also a certification to help manage food safety hazards as food safety management procedures should be based on HACCP principles.