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Estonia to Allow Farmers to Grow Hemp with Higher THC Content

The new regulations will certainly make Estonia a more competitive market for the growing CBD industry. Some 6,800 hectares (16,000 acres) of hemp are currently cultivated in Estonia. Farmers who grow hemp with THC content within set limits are eligible for agricultural subsidies. The proposed updated regulations would allow the cultivation of three to five new varieties of hemp.

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Estonian regulators plan to allow hemp farmers to grow plants with THC levels higher than the current 0.2%. By 2023, the limit will be at least 0.3%. This will bring the country up to the standards created by the EU last year.

This new policy, however, is not a step toward legalizing recreational cannabis- but rather is being advertised as a way to help the country’s cannabis growers, who have repeatedly complained about limited cultivation options under current regulations.

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Currently, there are only two varieties of cannabis that can be legally grown in Estonia

The proposed updated regulations would allow the cultivation of three to five new varieties of hemp.

The new regulations will certainly make Estonia a more competitive market for the growing CBD industry. Some 6,800 hectares (16,000 acres) of hemp are currently cultivated in Estonia. Farmers who grow hemp with THC content within set limits are eligible for agricultural subsidies.

Standardization regulations in the hemp industry

Last year, EU regulations for THC concentration in industrial hemp were set at 0.3% THC in all member countries. Switzerland and the Czech Republic allow hemp varieties containing up to 1% THC. It is unlikely that the rest of Europe will follow Switzerland or the Czech Republic in this regard until marijuana is fully legalized for recreational use.

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However, new regulations in Estonia move the country to the forefront of European countries that are on the verge of changing their cannabis policies to be in line with EU regulations rather than outdated national standards.

Currently, the lack of regulatory uniformity across EU countries is one of the biggest obstacles to a strong cannabis industry in Europe – of any kind.

According to Reno Paju, an official at the Ministry of Rural Affairs, the change will not have much impact on Estonian farmers, and he believes Finola will remain the most popular variety grown in Estonia.

Paju noted, however, that the relaxation will help prevent cases in which cannabis growers whose crops exceeded the permitted 0.2% THC level will be disqualified from receiving EU subsidies. There have only been a handful of such cases in Estonia, starting in 2017 and 2018, but it happens more often in Poland and throughout Southern Europe, where hemp cultivation is more popular and growing conditions are more conducive to producing more THC.

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(Featured image by PuhkusEestis via Pixabay)

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Helene Lindbergh is a published author with books about entrepreneurship and investing for dummies. An advocate for financial literacy, she is also a sought-after keynote speaker for female empowerment. Her special focus is on small, independent businesses who eventually achieve financial independence. Helene is currently working on two projects—a bio compilation of women braving the world of banking, finance, crypto, tech, and AI, as well as a paper on gendered contributions in the rapidly growing healthcare market, specifically medicinal cannabis.