Spain: Why the new craze for industrial hemp could lead to jail
A recent article in The Voice of Almería highlighted the risks incurred by hemp producers in Spain, who may misunderstand the legal parameters. Titled "Why the New Industrial Hemp Craze Could Land You in Jail," the article clearly sums up the main requirements for growing industrial hemp legally.
Prerequisites for growing hemp in Spain
- First, the seeds used must be approved for marketing in the European Union (EU). This means that they must be included in the common catalog of varieties of agricultural plant species in the EU.
- Second, the THC content of the plants should not exceed 0,2%.
- Third, the cultivation of hemp is limited to fibers and seeds. This point in particular is confusing to growers, some of whom mistakenly believe that all parts of the plant are allowed as long as they don't exceed the threshold of 0,2% THC. However, as the Civil Guard of Almería declared, “as soon as they touch the bud, they commit an offense against public health, regardless of the THC content. "
According to the article, law enforcement raids on Almería's industrial hemp farms have led at least one farmer to prison. Statements from the local prosecutor suggest that the real driving force behind police actions is "the notable increase in greenhouse cannabis sativa plantations under the guise of so-called industrial cultivation." This clandestine activity gave rise to violent thefts, sometimes fatal, in the plantations.
These risks do not only affect hemp growers. Other players in the sector such as distributors have also had problems with the legal authorities. According to the existing legal framework, the extraction of CBD from hemp is only allowed from the seeds. In addition, only hemp seeds and their derivatives are allowed in food.
In regions with a strong agricultural tradition such as Almeria, the hemp craze can present tempting prospects for producers and other stakeholders. However, with these opportunities come serious risks for those who disregard or choose to ignore the law.
Schematically, those interested in the cultivation of industrial hemp must respond to three essential imperatives , All at once . First of all, they must use seeds certified by the EU (Commission Decision 2004/842 / EC3). Second, plants cannot contain more than 0,2% THC. And thirdly, the use of plants will be reduced only to fiber or collecting seeds, never buds or leaves). In foods (for example, in flour) it is limited to seeds (there is an EU regulation 2015/2283 on novel foods. ”In any case, the cosmetic use must have the authorization of the Spanish Medicines Agency.