The British Hemp Alliance is applying for an exhibition license at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which is being held at the SEC in Glasgow. The alliance hopes to be able to walk world leaders and other delegates through a “virtual field of hemp” so British farmers can advocate the many benefits that hemp farming can bring to the environment.
Visitors will be supplied with virtual-reality headsets which will give visitors an “immersive journey” through a field of legal flowering cannabis plants, using a natural essential oil mist to replicate the ‘“healing and calming experience”.
The British Hemp Alliance was formed in 2019, and its website states that its aim is “to lobby for change and remove the barriers to growth that are preventing the UK hemp industry from thriving.” It is composed of NGOs, farmers, businesses, environmental organisations and individuals who want to support progressive changes in hemp legislation’.
It also intends to build at the exhibition a “CBD bar” out of hempcrete, with non-psychoactive cannabis based food and drink on the menu. This is intended to help showcase to delegates the growing potential that hemp farming in the UK has in helping the country become carbon-neutral.
The BHA is petitioning the government to remove industrial hemp from the controlled substance list, which they say would help the industry to expand in this country by allowing farmers to grow the whole plant without a license. “The UK CBD market alone is currently worth £300 million but British farmers are excluded because current legislation prohibits the harvest of hemp flowers and leaves,” a spokesman for BHA said.
Hemp could be a very attractive crop to UK farmers if the government cut the amount of bureaucracy involved that forms a barrier to most potential hemp farmers. One of many benefits to farmers is that hemp grows very well; its yields are impressive when compared to that of the average corn crop. Hemp also requires less maintenance, less water, and fewer pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides to grow. Hemp is the fastest crop for absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, and studies show that once one crop has been grown on the land, the soil will deliver 15-20% higher yields for follow-on crops due to hemp’s earth cleansing qualities.