EUROPEAN hemp businesses have launched a new manifesto calling for its widespread adoption as a premium and mainstream crop.
The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) which represents more than 130 businesses in over 30 countries says The Hemp Manifesto is a wake-up call during an ‘unprecedented global health crisis’.
The ten-point plan says it time to embrace its multi-faceted benefits and end bans on the use of all parts of the plant.
Hemp is one of mankind’s oldest crops and has been cultivated across the globe since the shift from hunter gatherers to farmers thousands of years ago.
Hemp Hijacked By Man-Made Fibres
A huge and diverse European industry thrived until after the Second World War when synthetic carbon-based fibres and cannabis-related scare stories left it stranded in an agricultural backwater.
EIHA Managing Director Lorenza Romanese said: “Europe is currently facing an unprecedented and alarming situation that will certainly bring about major changes, if not a startling transformation, in all aspects of our lives.
“The world has been turned upside down and after Covid-19 we are looking at rebuilding the economy.
“We have in front of us the unique opportunity to make things right once and for all. We truly believe that hemp has a valuable contribution to play and that is why this manifesto comes at such an important time”.
The manifesto – sent to European policy makers – calls for the removal of punitive restrictions and a plethora of hemp-friendly measures.
These should include a reinstatement of the maximum 0.3% THC (tetrahrydocannabinol) seed ceiling, which will align Europe with global peers.
It also calls for the removal of hemp from international drug controls to allow farmers the freedom to harvest and produce from all parts of the plant – including flowers and leaves.
Hemp Is Not A Drug
Ms Romanese said: “Industrial hemp products are not drugs – they do not have the potential to relieve pain and suffering – nor are they narcotics – there can be no misuse, abuse or dependence.”
Hemp has been thrust into the spotlight in recent years due to the presence of cannabidiol (CBD) and the growth of the market for these products.
It is a plant with a deep and rich history of use in a host of essential items, including; textiles, paper, ropes, insulation materials, fibre boards, bioplastics, compost, animal bedding, fuel, paint, feed, food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and medicinal preparations.
It is an impressive carbon sink with one hectare locking over 13 tons of carbon dioxide – equivalent to a hectare of tropical rain forest.
It can boost the yields of subsequent crops by removing heavy metals from soils, and needs less water than most to prosper.
Ms Romanese added: “Considering the above, it becomes clear that hemp can play a crucial role in a new greener and more sustainable society by providing a concrete solution for ensuring nutritious food, environmentally friendly non-food products, clean air and soils.
“The economic benefits for farmers and the environment would be undeniable. Consequently, the whole economy of rural areas could be positively impacted.
“The change of mindset now needs to be translated into concrete proposals and eventually in decisive actions, because only a drastic change in our patterns would help us deviate from a dangerous trajectory.”