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Polish experience in the drug-free cannabinoid market


Despite the lack of regulation of this issue at the level of the regulatory framework, at the moment, cultivation, processing, and sales related to drug-free cannabinoids are the most popular and profitable sector of the Polish hemp business. The second most important is the production of food from various constituents of the hemp plant. Other branches of processing hemp raw materials in the country are rather weakly developed.

Fact 1 - according to the official data of the state structures of the country, in 2019 Polish farmers cultivated hemp on an area of ​​3,027 hectares, which is 79% more than in 2018 - the data is based on information from farmers who received an EU subsidy specifically for the cultivation of this agricultural crop.

Fact 2 - low-capacity production facilities are actively working in the country, specializing in the extraction of drug-free cannabinoids, primarily cannabidiol.

Fact 3 - legal uncertainty in matters related to extraction, as well as the possibility of using non-drug cannabinoids, leads to the dependence of the entire market “on the goodwill” of an official who either “sees” a violation of the law or does not notice it “for a separate cache”.

It can be said that despite the fact that the Polish regulatory framework does not regulate the maximum permissible levels of tetrahydrocannabinol in final products, making agricultural producers, processors and retailers dependent on the local police, this sector of modern cannabis growing in the country is actively developing.

According to analysts on the Polish hemp market, more than half of the cultivated area is intended for obtaining the leaves and inflorescences of the hemp plant, which are subsequently used for the extraction of non-drug cannabinoids (absolutely mirroring the situation on the market in a number of other EU countries). 

Profitability of Polish hemp growing in 2019

Despite the fact that the plant cannabidiol market in Poland is growing at a rapid pace and over the past few years, many small enterprises have appeared specializing in the production of drug-free cannabinoids for the benefit of foreign companies, primarily from Switzerland (Polish enterprises import significant amounts of “green biomass” for further production of extracts of drug-free cannabinoids from Lithuania, France, Germany, and Kazakhstan), there is already a significant surplus of hemp plant flowers with significant therapeutic potential, therefore, prices for the above raw materials are gradually decreasing throughout the year. 

The situation is similar in sales. Online sales are the main way to market cannabinoid products. Companies that risk placing cannabinoid products on their store shelves are constantly being interfered with by law enforcement officials.

Disadvantages of the Polish market, which fortunately are not inherent in the national

Before Polish farmers can plant certified seeds of industrial hemp varieties, one of the following two conditions must be met:

• the  farmer signs a written contract with a third party for the production of a certain amount of a specific crop, which the third party agrees to purchase at a specified time at a specified price;

• An  agricultural producer gives a written commitment to local authorities to process industrial crops of industrial hemp, but only for the textile, chemical, pulp and paper, food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, construction and seed industries.

Those. government agencies should initially know who will be the buyer of the raw hemp produced by the enterprise. This does not mean that the final buyer of the product should be shown, however, government agencies formally need to demonstrate documents confirming that the grown products are being purchased.

At the moment, there are practically no farmers in Poland who specialize in the cultivation, processing and sale of hemp fiber. Those. The entire volume of trusts obtained after harvesting grain or leaves and inflorescences of a hemp plant is used in the construction industry, the production of biocomposite materials for the automotive industry, and also as mulch. 

Commentary of experts of the Association "Ukrainian technical hemp"

Growing cannabis in Poland is associated with significant risks, and therefore companies specializing in this type of activity remain extremely small (in the event of prosecution by law enforcement agencies, it is these companies that have sufficient flexibility in order to create a new enterprise in a relatively short time by declaring bankruptcy Of the “problem” asset).

Despite the lack of regulation of this issue at the level of the regulatory framework, at the moment, cultivation, processing, and sales related to drug-free cannabinoids are the most popular and profitable sector of the Polish hemp business ($ 58.7 million). The second most important is the production of food from various components of the hemp plant, primarily grain ($ 3 million). The rest of the hemp raw materials processing industries in the country are rather weakly developed, for example, fiber sales during the year generated about $ 0.8 million).

Generated income in 2019

The future of Polish cannabis production is largely dependent on how quickly the country's government officials can improve the regulatory framework, enabling the industry to compete on equal terms in the global cannabis market. In the event that no changes are made to the current legislation in the country's regulatory framework, Polish enterprises are doomed to continue using the bankruptcy mechanism in the event of “excessive interest on the part of law enforcement agencies”, which naturally will not allow the industry as a whole to develop (at least implementation of large-scale projects, including the processing of hemp fiber). Accordingly, if the risks of investing in the industry cannot be calculated, investors will avoid investing in hemp assets, which implies the absence of modern technologies and, accordingly, a gradual loss of competitive advantages in the global hemp market.

Issues related to the provision of permits, as well as application algorithms and legal mechanisms for the use of the health-improving / medicinal properties of technical hemp of therapeutic orientation will become the basis for the round table “Experience in using therapeutic elements of industrial hemp as raw materials for food, cosmetic preparations, biologically active or feed additives ", Which is being prepared as part of the training of students of the" Hemp University ", which will be held in the second half of September at the National University of Bioresources and Environmental Management (NUBiP) of Ukraine. Among other things, as part of the 5th course of training, students of the "Hemp University" will be presented with the initiatives of the profile association of Ukrainian cannabis growers to amend the current legislation related to the creation of a departmental legal framework regulating the use of "green mass" of hemp plant in industrial purposes by methods excluding extraction.

Обучение в рамках "Конопляного Университета"

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