In a communication to the Irish government and environmental associations in the country, the Erin Green Cane Growers castigate the authorities for ignoring them in the development of regulations relating to hemp. The result is a regulatory framework that has led to “economic nonsense and environmental sabotage,” says the Hemp Federation of Ireland (HFI), which wrote the letter.
The transfer of the food value of the crop to the pharmaceutical and food sectors will destroy the environmental value that has made our industry,” said HFI in the letter signed by its executive director, Chris Allen.
More broadly, HFI regrets that the Irish Hemp Programme, which makes only passing reference to the potential of the hemp stalk, was drafted without consultation with hemp industry stakeholders.
Our industry, as a whole, must be able to continue to develop, as it has done for over 25 years, as a local, SME-based sector for food and fiber,” the letter says. “It is the sum of the potentials of combined and locally managed cultivation within a fully integrated development paradigm that constitutes the most exceptional climate transition pathway.
HFI said Ireland can only reach its full potential in hemp if the state’s legislative, regulatory and financial policies are aligned, and criticized the government for a hemp legislative framework that is “now in chaos” due to changes made in 2018.
These interventions have been made in an irrational, extreme, and destructive manner…They show little appreciation of the current state of scientific knowledge and have severely damaged our farms, businesses, and livelihoods,” the letter states. The resulting policies have taken hemp out of the hands of farmers, creating a situation in which “the only hemp entering our food chain will have been grown synthetically in laboratories
We don’t understand who is shaping government policy for our industry, but the industry is still very poorly understood in all Irish departments and agencies,” said HFI.
In 2019, an Irish Industrial Hemp Forum brought together major stakeholders in the hemp industry. Invited, the Irish Department of Health and key agencies under its control declined to participate, as did other key government agencies.