The Extract spoke with Lorenza Romanese, managing director of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA). An organisation committed to promoting hemp and its multitude of products. Lorenza, an Italian native took over the role from Michael Carus in February 2019 and has not looked back since. We ask question from what CBD did for her favourite pet to how her business has grown, here we look at the main points.
Q: Why did you join the EIHA?
I had known of the thousands of benefits of hemp and I wanted to try and make a difference. I had worked as a policy advisor in the wine industry for a number of years and also in the European Commission so I knew with the contacts and experience I had built up that I could make a difference.
Q: What is your background?
I worked as a policy advisor for the wine industry as well as the oil and gas sector. I have worked in the EU commission for a number of years and have built up many strong relationships with EU members.
Q: Why did you want to work with the EIHA?
I believe that hemp and all the products from hemp can save this planet and I believe that by working with the EIHA and its members I can make a big difference.
By influencing EU decisions I can have an effect not only on hemp farmers and processors but on citizens who wish to improve their health using the phytocannabinoids from the hemp plant such as CBD.
Q: Who do EIHA represent?
The EIHA represent over 26 member states, and its members range from small to medium-sized hemp farmers and processors to major companies such as Aurora.
Q: What are the major goals of EIHA?
We have many goals to accomplish over the next number of years. We are asking EU policymakers to include hemp farmers in the CAP reform so farmers can get their fair share of payment which will in turn increase production and the number of growers.
We also are fighting the recent changes to the EU novel food wording to ensure it does not hinder our growth. We are also looking to increase the allowable THC content in hemp in order to increase variety.
Q: Do you use CBD personally?
At the recent EIHA conference in Cologne, it was very hectic so I used some CBD oil to get me through it.
Q: How successful was the EIHA Annual Meeting?
The 16th annual EIHA meeting was a huge success with over 500 people from 46 countries attending. All aspects of hemp were discussed and optimism was high amongst the attendees.
Q: How can we ensure only quality CBD hits our stores?
I believe that we do need a certain amount of regulation to ensure citizens only receive safe quality CBD oil. I believe that if farmers and processors all adhere to strict growing and processing guidelines along with third-party lab verification we can ensure quality CBD for everyone.
Q: What do you see as Hemp and CBD greatest obstacle?
I believe the greatest obstacle is big pharma and it's evolving World legal status. I believe that the hemp and CBD movement is so big that the pharmaceutical industry wants to diversify its income by getting heavily involved in hemp and CBD.
I believe that hemp has such huge potential that it should not simply be confined to big pharma but that it should be shared with everyone.
Q: Are you optimistic about the future of Hemp and CBD?
Yes. I wake up every morning and I feel good that I am working in an industry that is making people's lives better. I believe that this is the correct path and that we can only win.
We have the backing of the public and this is the foundation for all great change. I firmly believe hemp and CBD will continue to grow and thrive.