A group of Hemp enthusiasts, farmers, food manufacturers and wellness companies have banded together to form the Scottish Hemp Association (SHA) primarily to provide assistance from the knowledge base of its membership to help navigate the over-complicated bureaucratic UK & EU government regulations for growing, extracting and manufacturing of building materials, paper and board, animal bedding plus hundreds of other applications.
Membership is aimed primarily at Scottish Companies, but the SHA does accept members from other countries also.
20 organisations have been meeting since summer 2019, a legal constitution has been drawn up, and a steering committee formed to liaise with government agencies and in particular Food Standards Scotland to ensure that a sensible and scientific approach is undertaken in regards to hemp.
The SHA is presently concentrating its efforts with Food Standards Scotland and the Novel Food register which is holding the whole cannabis hemp industry to ransom.
Cannabis hemp has been around on this planet before man. The hemp culture is for a better and safer world, testing products on animals which the Food Standards require is not what we are about.
The emerging Cannabidiol (CBD) industry has been subject to increasing scrutiny in recent years, including being briefly classified as a Narcotic in Italy and being subject to Novel foods regulations which states that, due to no history of widespread consumption before 1997, that CBD producers must go through strict regulatory procedures to bring each product to market. France recently submitted documentation to the UN/WHO, but ultimately failed to get CBD scheduled as a narcotic.
Food Standards Scotland are separate from the UK Food Standards Authority and so can make independent decisions when it comes to products intended for the Scottish market.
The Scottish Hemp Association Steering Committee members are made up of directors from Holistic Highland Hemp, Holistic Hemp Scotland, Flora Fusion, Cannadonia and Balanced Vitality.
There are membership options for Cannabis Hemp companies in Scotland and elsewhere wishing to join the Association with the aim being to fight for what is right for Cannabis and Hemp in Scotland.
For example, the Novel Foods regulations require animal testing, something the SHA disagrees with in the case of hemp: “Novel foods regulations opens the door to synthetically produced CBD, grown on yeast in warehouses, to enter the food chain without any labelling requirements to state the CBD is synthetically produced. We don’t believe this is a positive development for the Hemp industry and 90 days of testing on a rat or any another animal won’t change our mind on that either.”
So far Scottish Hemp Association has opened a line of communication with Food Standards Scotland, who have already been looking at the CBD industry.
Now the Scottish Hemp Association has confirmed that the 31st March deadline for Novel Foods will now no longer apply to Scotland as it does in the rest of the UK and that Food Standards Scotland are listening to their approach with sensible conversations taking place around Hemp products in Scotland.
Interestingly the Rowett Institute in Scotland were funded by the Government to study hemp, finding its suitability as a protein in meals and adding further validity to plant produced CBD as a healthy food source.
We hope that the Scottish Hemp Association can apply the right sort of pressure up in Scotland to see sensible developments for Hemp and cannabis 2021. With Novel Foods on the horizon, many consumers are anxious about what this means for the CBD products they currently use, and we hope there is a way to market to continue with full-spectrum products.
Kyle Esplin the chairperson of the Scottish Hemp Association said: ‘Working together with the Scottish Government, Academia and other interested groups brings an excellent opportunity for Scotland. We are having very positive ongoing discussions with Food Standards Scotland and now have over 10 farmers lined up in Angus and Aberdeenshire to grow hemp in 2021.’