PORTUGUESE hemp farmers have hit out after failing to secure licences for the 2019 growing season – leaving them thousands of Euros out of pocket.
Lusicanna, a Portuguese hemp growing co-operative, this month published a survey of 29 of its members which show all of them unhappy the way their Government has handled the situation.
The co-operative claims their problems began with the introduction of a new law in January this year to regulate the medical cannabis industry, which also included stipulations on how industrial hemp should be regulated.
Growers Set To Sue Government
But Lusicanna says the relevant authorities in Portugal have shunned their responsibilities in implementing the new hemp industry directives, leaving them high and dry.
All 29 small hemp farmers surveyed by Lusicanna said the government is not making rules for hemp clear and all said ‘no’ when asked if the government clearly communicated the 2019 changes, reports Lusicanna on its website.
They also unanimously answered ‘no’ when asked if the government supports the efforts of hemp farmers, and three-quarters said they would participate in a lawsuit over lost business.
Huge Losses for Hemp Growers
This year’s failed crop means losses of €30,000 per hectare (U.S $33,000), Lusicanna estimates. “Whether the hemp businesses here in Portugal can catch up with the rapid market developments if given authorization in 2020 remains an open question, as investors’ doubts mount for obvious reasons,” say Lusicanna.
Portugal was one of the first companies to decriminalize all drugs in 2001, and last year it legalized cannabis-based medicines. Its warm climate has seen it attract millions of dollars of investment from Tilray into an outdoor cannabis farm.
Crop ‘Contamination’ Fears
The Canadian company is reportedly looking to make the small town of Cantanhede near Coimbra, where its production plant is based, as its main European hub.
One critic of the Portuguese Government on The Cannabis News Network believes the lack of support for industrial hemp growers from its Government is to ensure the medical cannabis crops will not be cross-pollinated by industrial hemp plants, thereby reducing their worth.
In January this year, Canada’s ICC International Cannabis agreed to acquire 100% of Portugal’s Enigma Unipessoal Lda, saying it will allow harvest 45,000 kg of CBD isolate per year.