On the 30th January 2020, a major conference was held on the future of Cannabis: Future Cannabis Strategies Europe 2020.
At this event, ADAS were invited to Chair the panel session on “Hemp Farming in Europe.” The event was well attended with a wide range of delegates from across the cannabis and Food and Beverage (F&B) categories, as well as support services from blockchain providers to laboratory testing facilities.
Key topics covered in the panel session, chaired by Dr Colin Morgan of ADAS, were:
- Exploring the current UK restrictions on cannabis growing
- Looking at changes and challenges presented by UK and EU regulations
- The future of sustainable cannabis farming in the UK – as a potential world leader
The panellists had many views on the topics, and there were some clear opportunities and barriers to the UK cannabis market raised which are outlined here.
The panellists saw Brexit as an opportunity. A potentially divergent legislation for cannabis cultivation could provide opportunities for the UK to work with and develop new cannabis varieties that could offer a range of different benefits – such as use in fibre production to help build sustainable biomaterial-based value chains. Further de-regulation could permit the UK to grow a range of varieties for different purposes and expand the range of outputs. For example, it is currently not permitted in the UK to produce CBD oils from flowers, however, panellists described this as a “CBD trade deficit”. It was felt that rather than importing CBD for use in the UK market (as is the current situation), UK growers could produce quality CBD themselves, meaning that sourcing such products could be local and more sustainable.