The body representing EU member states has approved agrarian reforms that include more leeway in terms of THC levels for cannabis as it includes support for farmers.
In EU member states, cannabis varieties with varying maximum levels of THC can be grown if they are authorized under national regulations. But if a farmer wants EU subsidies, the maximum permissible level of THC in hemp is currently 0.2%. This lower level narrows the varieties available to cannabis growers and increases the risk of crops being considered “hot”.
But there has been some progress on this front. The European Council last week adopted the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Among them was eligibility for subsidies that would remain if the cannabis varieties registered in the EU’s official seed catalog were stable at less than 0.3% THC. The change came on the heels of the European Parliament’s vote in favor of it in October last year.
The change represents a major victory for the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA).
“This is a wonderful day for the cannabis sector and another step towards a greener future for Europe,” She said EIHA President Daniel Cross. “However, if compared to other countries around the world, 0.3% is still a low limit; for example, Switzerland, in the heart of Europe, has more, and other EU countries are already operating with higher limits.”
This is not just the case in Europe – some jurisdictions, including Western Australia, have a 1% limit – giving these farmers a somewhat advantage over their EU-subsidized counterparts.
EU farmers wishing to benefit from the permitted upper level of THC will need to wait for a while because the new CAP will not come into effect until January 1, 2023.
Lorenza Romanes, Managing Director of EIHA, noted that there is still much work to be done for cannabis to achieve its full potential in the European Union.
“We need to continue working together, as there are still other areas where cannabis deserves better regulation, but we are on the right track.”