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Poland discusses draft laws to facilitate the cultivation of hemp

On 20 April 2021, the draft bill on hemp ("Draft Bill") was submitted to the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish Parliament). The aim of the Draft Bill is to specifically regulate the cultivation of hemp, an issue which is currently mainly addressed in the Act of 29 July 2005 on Counteracting Drug Addiction ("Act on CDA"). The Draft Bill was sent to the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and to the Health Committee for the first reading on 28 October.

Under the current regulatory regime, hemp may only be cultivated after obtaining the appropriate permit and only in the textile, chemical, pulp and paper, food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, building materials and seed industries.

Hemp is defined in the Act on CDA as plants of the hemp species (Cannabis sativa L.) in which the sum of the content of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (delta-9-THC-2-carboxylic acid) ("THC") in the flowering or fruiting tops of plants, from which the resin has not been removed, does not exceed 0.2% on a dry weight basis.

Pursuant to the Act on CDA, the provincial parliament (sejmik wojewódzki) determines the total area allocated annually for the cultivation of hemp in the given province and the municipalities in which it may be cultivated.

The Draft Bill addresses the above issues and suggests the following amendments:

  • Raising the authorised THC level in hemp by changing its definition whereby hemp are plants of the hemp species (Cannabis sativa L.) in which the THC in the flowering or fruiting tops of plants, from which the resin has not been removed, does not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis. With respect to this amendment, the authors of the Draft Bill cite in the explanatory memorandum the European Parliament's vote on 23 October 2020 on increasing the THC level for industrial hemp from 0.2% to 0.3%;
  • Repealing the obligation of the provincial parliament to determine the total area allocated annually for the cultivation of hemp in the given province and the municipalities in which hemp may be cultivated in order to simplify and accelerate the process of starting cultivation;
  • Allowing the use of hemp for a larger number of purposes, e.g. energy, furnishing, veterinary, fodder, composite materials, land reclamation and remediation, beekeeping, fertilisers, natural plant protection products, and scientific research.

The authors of the Draft Bill argue that the suggested changes will make the legal regulations less bureaucratic and therefore increase the potential of hemp cultivation in Poland, which in turn will result in an increase in the global competitiveness of Polish production.

The final wording of the Draft Bill may change in the course of the legislative process.

Tags

hemp, regulation, cannabis sativa, poland, cannabis

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