CBD cannabis is a phenomenon all around the UK and Europe; in our country, the legislation allows the inflorescences to reach a THC content of 0.2%, using the seeds contained in the list of the European Commission, while in Switzerland, the limit is 1%.
It is challenging to have data for light cannabis alone, as these crops fall within the industrial zones, which in the European Union reached 35,000 hectares in 2016 according to estimates by EIHA. This European industrial hemp association brings together several dozen growers and producers across Europe.
Of this total, almost half is in France, with 17,000 hectares, while in the second position with a large gap, we find Estonia with 3500 hectares. On the other hand, Italy ranks fourth with 2300 hectares, behind the Netherlands with 2400 hectares.
Besides, the CBD market and new laws are necessary for Europe. Find out more about this topic here.
CBD laws and regulations in the UK
You can legally buy and use CBD products, but marijuana remains illegal in the UK, with penalties of up to five years for mere possession. However, despite the strictness of the laws, the position of the government and the police seems to be relatively permissive, at least within certain limits of quantity.
Discussions on legalization are ongoing, although recent Brexit events seem to have overshadowed the debate. Medical cannabis has been available to a few patients on prescription since the end of last year.
CBD in Switzerland
At the beginning of 2017, there were 5 registered producers of light cannabis. Twelve months later, they were already 490 to reach 630 in July 2018. This boom led to an overproduction that forced Switzerland to export the excess product to neighbouring countries such as Italy, France, and Austria.
This excellent product availability has led to a drop in wholesale prices, as also happened in Italy this year, but still rewarding quality, as we see in these months of 2019 also in our peninsula.
In the summer of 2018, the retail prices of one gram ranged from 11 to 13 euros, while the wholesale price was around 1700 euros per kilogram. In 2017, the light cannabis market estimates, therefore with THC below 1%, were 80-90 million per year. Unfortunately, to date, we have no other updated data.
Switzerland also exports many cuttings, especially to Austria, where there is a thriving plant market. This export also seems to take place to Italy, thus importing plants that, even if they respect the THC limits, are not included in the hemp seed table of the European Commission and could not be grown in compliance with the law in force.
Cannabis ad CBD in France
In 2016, it was the country with the most significant extension in hectares of hemp cultivated land with almost half of the European crops, reaching 17,000 out of the 35,000 total hectares cultivated in Europe.
In the summer of 2008, the first CBD cannabis shops were opened, thanks to a regulatory vacuum, selling products purchased mainly from abroad, such as Switzerland and Italy. Furthermore, in France, as in Italy, the inflorescences cannot be sold for human consumption, so they cannot be smoked. Besides, the same producers in France do not write the uses of this product, which therefore remains a free interpretation of the consumer.
Austria the new European El-Dorado
There is little information to date because the phenomenon of CBD cannabis in Austria is too recent. For the moment, we know that Switzerland exports many clones to Austria, making it the main market for cuttings: the sale is, in fact, legal as long as it is below the legal THC threshold so until flowering begins.
The hemp sector in Austria is also growing sharply on the CBD oil front, together with the cultivation of hemp for the textile sector and eco-materials used in construction.
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