Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government-run economic development agency has delivered a great boost to the country’s CBD sector, as a result of the increased funding being made available to companies in the sector. The agency, which funds entrepreneurial endeavour for Irish businesses at home and abroad has already funded three CBD and hemp companies across the country. The company says it will continue to do so, providing businesses operate within manufacturing or internationally traded services, and that they comply with European and Irish legislation.
A spokesman said: “Enterprise Ireland is currently examining its position in respect of supports relating to CBD products and other hemp-related products, to ensure that this is appropriate to a changing regulatory and technological environment.”
Financial backing a positive signal for the industry
So far, the agency has given funding to at least three businesses involved in hemp or CBD, with one company, which Enterprise Ireland said was “involved in the production of hemp juice and powder” receiving a grant of €50,000 in 2016. Previously it had also given €330,916 in total to two companies for hemp and cannabis medical research in 2017 and 2018.
The agency went on to add that it cannot name the companies who have benefited from the economic support, however, they are understood to have backed Louth-based Celtic Wind Crops and County Clare-based Canaboil. Celtic Wind Crops recently secured a distribution deal with the UK-based Lloyd’s Pharmacy and is currently understood to be discussing potential distribution deals in the US and Scandinavia.
Meanwhile, Canabaoil received a €15,000 stipend from Enterprise Ireland to help grow its business as part of the New Frontiers programme. Canaboil CEO Laura Foley captured the optimistic mood of CBD business stakeholders when she said at the time, “It is an opportunity to develop our strategic growth plan with guidance from a panel of international experts but most importantly for me, it was the stamp of approval to say yes this is a commercially viable idea.”
Other notable Irish companies growing hemp for CBD extraction include Kama Hemp, which is based in County Monaghan, and CB1 Botanicals, in County Cork.
Legal Confusion Continues Despite Minister’s Hope
What to conclude from this apparent positive news? It comes within the context of an overall clarity around CBD by the Irish government. That lack of clarity on the legality of CBD has caused problems for some businesses. Farmers are still prohibited from growing cannabis for medical use despite Health Minister Simon Harris expressing the hope that he wished to see it legalised two years ago.
The minister, at the time, referred to CBD as “a product that could ease your pain and suffering after you’ve tried all the conventional treatments,” before adding, “this is a major priority for me and I really want to see this happen in 2019.” Harris went on to say that he wanted to see Ireland produce its medicinal cannabis internally.
“Does it make sense to grow your own in Ireland rather than be dependent on importing a product? I think quite frankly it does. In the medium terms talking about growing our own and securing our own supply in Ireland is the sensible thing to do.”
Despite those supportive words Ireland still imports its medicinal CBD but considering the obvious financial support being target at domestic firms, this may soon come to an end. Given the context of that pro-CBD outlook in the cabinet, the backing of the state’s economic development agency, Enterprise Ireland, is a very positive signal that progress is being made.