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Britain’s antiquated laws on hemp are harming the environment—and short-changing farmers

Though CBD is technically legal in the UK, onerous restrictions mean that products must be imported from abroad. UK farms are losing out

By Christiana Spens  

30 July 2020, Saxony-Anhalt, Hedersleben: Andreas Richter from the Harz-Hemp Initiative shows hemp nuts on a hemp field. The agricultural cooperative Hedersleben cultivates, among other things, for research purposes in the region on an area of 10 hectares of useful hemp. Under the working title Harz-Hanf, various products are already extracted and produced from the hemp plant. With subsidies from the European Union, research is being conducted into the possibilities offered by hemp plants. Photo: Matthias Bein/dpa-Zentralbild/ZB

It is easy to be pessimistic about the state of British agriculture, facing now the double punch of Brexit and the Covid-induced deep recession. This year, farmers have faced disrupted supply chains, wasted produce, a shortage of seasonal labour, and extreme uncertainty about the consequences of an imminent hard Brexit.

But there is hope on the horizon. CBD products are already hugely popular in this country, with the industry currently worth about £300 million, and growing. One online platform, Wowcher, recorded a 99 per…

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