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Polish Hemp Production Is Down – Because Of Government Stays On Incentives

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Hemp production fell about 36% this year because many farmers found their state-derived incentives blocked due to supposedly illegal levels of THC

Here is the good news. The Polish government is providing government incentives to the domestic hemp industry. 

Now here is the kicker. The domestic Agency for Restructuring and Modernization of Agriculture (ARiMR) which supports such efforts reduced the amount of money allocated for this activity on the basis that the hemp grown had a level of THC that is verboten.

As a result, hemp fields in cultivation for 2021 numbered just 2,300 hectares, down from 3,600 in 2020 as subsidies have been blocked for the FINOLA oilseed variety (the most popular crop).

The Finnish-based FINOLA is fighting back against this decision as well as the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals and Feed after the EU level agency issued a decision in late July allowing Poland to prohibit the marketing of its seeds.

There is an ongoing battle right now at the European level – namely about how and whether to proceed on a previous decision that CBD was not a narcotic or take a giant step back and reverse its earlier decision.

This hemming and hawing on a regional level is absolutely at play in Poland – particularly because the EC has already signed off on allowing a regional increase of THC from 0.2 – 0.3%. 

However, the domestic government’s stance on the issue creates yet another snag in the pipeline – namely that a regional body and one country in the region (Finland) have already proceeded with the understanding that a higher level of THC would be allowed – and a local one dug in its heels on standing precedent.

This kind of whipsaw is of course not limited to either Poland or hemp. Much of the battle for legalization reform over the next few years will absolutely be to create regional standards and then get these clearly implemented in individual countries. Both strategies will have to be followed – one is not enough. 

Beyond this, of course there are pending lawsuits that also may help change the landscape – but this strategy also has its drawbacks.

Cannabis Reform Is a Hot European Issue

Despite general intransigence and local skirmishes like this one (which have nonetheless proved to be a setback for the thriving Polish hemp industry), there is a new sense on a political level that cannabis reform is coming to Europe and will not be held back. This has been reinforced in the last month with both Switzerland and Luxembourg announcing the next steps to their own recreational markets.

Nonetheless, forward motion is going to be a hard-fought proposition – regionally and locally. This latest contretemps is just one more example.

Be sure to stay tuned to this blog for more trends and analysis of the European cannabis market.