The European Parliament approved on November 24 to increase the THC level from 0.2% to 0.3% for hemp crops used for industrial purposes. The rise of the THC level for industrial hemp is part of the measures of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms, which will enter into force in 2023.
Farmers may receive EU subsidies if they use hemp varieties registered in the EU catalog with a maximum THC level of 0.3%.
The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has made this achievement possible, representing the common interests of European hemp farmers. “This is a small step reflects that EU legislators are closer to fully acknowledging and recognizing the existence of a legitimate European hemp sector.” Said Lorenza Romanese, EIHA Managing Director, in a press release. But what does this increase mean for the European hemp market? Currently, the EU hemp seed catalog lists around 69 varieties of hemp. But with the new limits, European farmers will be able to grow much more hemp varieties.
In 1999, France set the THC level at 0.2%, a limitation that kept out many valuable hemp varieties for industrial purposes. By increasing the THC level of hemp crops from 0.2% to 0.3%, European farmers would have access to more than 500 hemp varieties. Although the THC level has increased by only 0.1%, this is a big step for the European hemp industry. By accessing a wide range of hemp varieties, farmers can grow more vital hemp crops, develop better fibers, CBD flowers, and stalks. Furthermore, they can grow hemp in different soil and climate conditions, and seed researchers can create a new genetic heritage. However, a THC level of 0.3% is not enough to compete with non-European markets. Although the United States and Canada set THC limits for hemp to 0.3%, other countries have access to hemp varieties with a THC level up to 1%