In August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report on the hemp industry boom in the European Union. The report recognized that hemp was an important commodity that could aid the European Union in achieving its climate-related objectives.
The report also discusses how the cannabis crop has been cultivated and utilized in the region for millennia and how products from the crop are now increasing in popularity, as more nations enact decriminalization reforms. The report states that since the Middle Age, all parts of the hemp plant were consumed in European nations, including its flowers, leaves and seeds as well as its extracts.
The nonintoxicating plant was also used as a source of fiber for manufacturing textiles and rope. This is in addition to being used in ancient medicines. However, in the 20th century, Europe and the United States banned the plant, with its ban partially contributing to the EU’s increased reliance on fossil-based alternatives for industrial applications.
The relegalization of the cannabis plant has renewed interest in the crop, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture noting that the EU is currently assessing opportunities that would expand the usage of hemp. One of the motives behind the EU’s renewed interest is to decrease the use of carbon-intensive products and fossil fuels.
The report states that the growing of hemp provides various environmental benefits, which include increased biodiversity and prevention of erosion and carbon storage, as well as eliminating the use of pesticides. The crop’s dense leaves also create a natural soil cover, which decreases loss of water, while its flowering cycle creates a lot of pollen, which supports crop pollination for other plants.
Data from the European Commission shows that in 2019, the cultivation of hemp had increased with more than 34,000 hectares being dedicated to growing the plant. Of all the countries in the EU, France is said to be the biggest hemp cultivator, closely followed by Italy, the Netherlands and Estonia.
The report also highlights that the European Union recently passed an updated Common Agricultural Policy, which will take effect at the beginning of next year and last through 2027. Under the new policy, hemp cultivators will be eligible for direct payments for a range of varieties, as long as the plants do not exceed the dry weight 0.3% THC limit.
The Department of Agriculture notes that American stakeholders interested in entering the European hemp market should ensure that they understand the regulations, which typically vary from one nation to another.
The exploding cannabis/hemp market in Europe is likely to benefit internationally focused companies such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC), which are constantly looking for new markets to expand into and serve.
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