Sustainability

The challenges faced by hemp farmers to get in the hemp farming business in the UK


We caught up with leading figures across every sector in the hemp and CBD industry.

One such figure is Rebekah Shaman, the chair and founder of the British Hemp Association (BHA). The BHA works to improving conditions for British hemp farmers and expanding the domestic CBD industry in the UK.

Currently, the Home Office prohibits British farmers from harvesting hemp flower for the production of cannabis oil and CBD. Despite the fact that hemp plants contain minuscule amounts of THC, farmers are restricted to harvesting only the stalk and seeds.

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However, this inhibits the ability to build a domestic CBD market in the UK, as companies are forced to import European CBD oil made with hemp flower.

The BHA are committed to taking the regulation of hemp away from the Home Office and back to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) where it would then be considered an agricultural crop instead of a controlled substance.

Thinking back on the history of hemp in Britain, it’s hard to believe that farmers are now prevented from harvesting a substantial part of their crop.

During Henry VIII’s reign, British farmers were required to dedicate a portion of their land to growing hemp which was used to make materials like sails and rope for naval ships.

On top of that, the British empire was quite literally built on hemp, as colonies were required by law to grow large amounts of hemp to meet demand.

These days, the British Hemp Association is committed to promoting hemp as a potentially lucrative crop for farmers amid the climate crisis. Hemp works as a ‘carbon sink and a sustainable option‘  ’, as it absorbs more carbon dioxide per hectare, per year than any other commercial crop. One hectare of industrial hemp is capable of absorbing a whopping 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

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Alex White

Alex is a writer and sustainable fashion enthusiast. When they aren't writing articles for The Extract, you can find them knee-deep in the vintage section of Oxfam.

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