France’s hemp industry is urging the European Commission (EC) to reconsider cannabidiol’s (CBD) classification to a narcotic pointing to the ‘dramatic repercussions,’ the decision will have on the sector.
In a joint statement, France’s Professional Hemp Union (SPC) along with three other industry organisations, remind the EC the action will “promote synthetic CBD consumption, restrict CBD of natural origin to pharma and kill potential for job creation in the hemp sector.”
“We would like to remind you that at physiological doses the extracts derived from industrial hemp, which are currently sold in the EU as food supplements, have no psychotropic effects and are well tolerated by humans,” the statement adds.
The comments, which count France’s National Union of Food Supplements, Synadiet as another voice, also urge the French government to ‘defend our industry and to take a stand for consumers.’
The statement is in response to the EC’s decision last month to postpone the progress of Novel Food applications concerning CBD products as it decides whether to class non-synthetic CBD as a narcotic.
The 12 EU member states look set to vote on this issue at a meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs later this year in a decision that would affect the EU CBD market for food supplements, cosmetics and hemp-derived food.
Survival of farmers
Along with the SPC and Synadiet, Phytolia, which represents stakeholders in France’s health & beauty sectors and ITEIPMAII, the French research institute for perfume, medicinal and aromatic plants add their voices to the issue, calling on French authorities to ‘ensure the survival of farmers and entrepreneurs investing in this promising sector.’
“For producers, this would jeopardise investments in recovery of hemp fibres and straw for bio-based products such as building materials, textiles, paper, plastics and biocomposites.
“On the consumer side, this would promote the consumption of CBD synthetic, which is not affected by the decision of the European Commission,” the statement concludes.
Comments from the French representatives mirror the thoughts of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), who back in July, also warned the decision to classify hemp extracts as a narcotic would ‘kill off the hemp sector’.
The EIHA also reiterated that if confirmed, the position would deprive farmers from a low maintenance and profitable rotation crop with the potential to bringing environmental benefits.
Cannabidiol would stay on the market but only in its synthetic form, produced via ‘polluting chemical manufacturing,’ they said.
“This preliminary view stands against any logic and is nothing but unfair,” said Lorenza Romanese, EIHA’s managing director, at the time.
THC and CBD studies
“The whole hemp sector is working extremely hard and has planned a €3.7m investment to commission unprecedented studies on THC and CBD under a joint Novel food application, in full transparency and under the monitoring of EFSA.”
“Other countries such as the US, Canada, China or Switzerland are making headway. I wonder whether Europe will decide to be bold enough to pursue evidence-based policy making, or instead, choose to stand idle gaping at the world moving ahead.”
Romanese was disappointed at the Commission’s reluctance to work constructively and was instead punishing a sector that could help move towards a zero-emission, bio-based and sustainable economy.
The sector, she said would represent an additional revenue for farmers, who she considered the backbone of the EU food market.
“If hemp extracts become a drug, it will not be the farmers and SMEs benefiting from the success of the hemp industry, but only those big companies that can afford the synthetic production of chemicals – an absurdity we cannot afford nor accept,” she concluded.