By Emily Ledger
The largest Hemp farm in the UK has been denied a renewal of it’s cultivation license by the Home Office. This means that Hempen has had to begin crushing it’s 40-acre crop, at an expected loss of £200,000.
Up until last November, the farm, Hempen, had harvested it’s Hemp for the purpose of producing CBD products. However, following clarification from the Home Office in November that only stems and seeds of the plant were to be harvested, the farm turned it’s attention to creating other products.
The Home Office declared that UK Farmers could not harvest Hemp flowers for use in Cannabis Oil or CBD products.
It instead focused on producing cold-pressed seed oil and hemp flour, among other products. These items are made from the stems and seeds of the Hemp plants, and do not require flowers or leaves.
Last week Hempen discovered that it was denied a license renewal – which the company applied for in December. Prior to the rejection, James Norman – the farm Director and tenancy holder – had held the grower’s license for three years.
As a result, the farm has been told to cease production early, Despite planning to appeal the decision, the farm began to destroy it’s over 40 acres of Hemp crops on Monday, in order to stay within the law.
The farm believes that it has been unfairly penalised and criticised the lack of clarity in UK regulation, concerning the growing and production of Hemp.
Hempen Co-Founder, Patrick Gillett said in a BBC interview:
“Instead of capitalising on the booming CBD industry, the Home Office’s bureaucracy is leading British farmers to destroy their own crops, and millions of pounds’ worth of CBD flowers are being left to rot in the fields.”
In an attempt to minimise job losses from the circumstances, the farm plans to change it’s line of production. It hopes to continue to supply CBD products by importing material from a European partner, which is legal.
UK Hemp growing regulations state that farmers are only permitted to harvest the stems and seeds from the plant. However, flowers and leaves that have been imported from elsewhere are legal in the UK. This distinction has brought a lot of criticism from UK Hemp farmers.
Although the seeds and stems of Hemp plants do contain Cannabidiol (CBD), the concentration is much lower than in the flowers and leaves.
Hemp can be used for a variety of other products, including clothing, insulation and construction material, and paper.