European Council adopts 0.3% maximum THC levels

By Kavitha Sivasubramaniam

- Last updated on GMT

European Council adopts 0.3% maximum THC levels

Related tags THC Cap tetrahydrocannabinol

The European Council has adopted the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which restores tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels of hemp varieties back to 0.3%.

The CAP, set to be introduced on 1 January 2023, will raise THC levels from the 0.2% currently allowed.

In October 2020, the European Parliament voted in favour of increasing the level from 0.2%, but it took more than a year for the three European Union institutions to agree the detail following the final vote on 24 November 2021.

The move has been welcomed by the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA), which represents European hemp farmers and was instrumental in getting the level restored.

A greener future

Daniel Kruse, ​pioneer of the hemp industry and EIHA President, said: "I have been fighting for this moment for over a decade. My special thanks go to our amazing team in Brussels, who have made this possible.”

He described the decision as “a great day for the hemp sector and another step towards a greener future for Europe”​, but believes 0.3% is still low when compared to other countries around the world, including Switzerland and other EU countries with higher limits.

In early 2020, Italy’s Ministry of Health agreed the maximum level THC permitted in food supplements to be set at two milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg).

“Scientific studies and many years of experience prove that higher limits pose absolutely no safety risk for consumers. The EU lays the foundation for a growing, green and sustainable industrial hemp sector across our Union and it has the chance to achieve a level playing field again in global competition when it comes to the industrial hemp sector​,” added Kruse.

EU subsidies

The increase allows farmers to grow and sell a greater number of hemp varieties for industrial purposes, and they will be eligible for EU subsidies if they are registered in the EU catalogue.

Lorenza Romanese, EIHA Managing Director, said: “I am proud of what has been achieved today. We worked hard to ensure that hemp had the recognition it deserves in the Common Agricultural Policy. I would say that this small step reflects that EU legislators are closer to fully acknowledging and recognising the existence of a legitimate European hemp sector.

“However, as I have said other times, this is not it. We need to keep working together, as there are still other areas where hemp deserves to be better regulated, but we are on the right track​.”

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