Do you know who is the current leader in cannabis cultivation in Europe?
The leading producer of industrial hemp in Europe, and the third in the world is... France. Moreover, more than half of the land intended for hemp cultivation on the European continent is located in France.
In 2020, some 1,300 French farmers were cultivating almost 18,000 hectares of hemp. From this, French cooperatives produced 100,000 tons of defibrated straw and 17,000 tons of seeds. It is worth noting that only fibers and seeds can be used for production in France. Despite the fact that it is at odds with European regulations - flowers are destroyed as industrial waste.
Currently, French industry is shaped by the following branches:
- food, based on the North American model and the growing interest in dietetics and an alternative to a protein source
- plastic composites, with hemp as a substitute for mineral or fossil fibers
- building materials, with hemp as a key player in sustainability and ecological alternatives to traditional solutions
In 2004, France relaxed its hemp regulations. As a consequence, these plants can be grown and used commercially there, as long as they do not contain more than 0.2% THC (the same threshold also applies in Poland).
In addition, in 2020, in France, there was a ban on the use of products based on CBD, the non-intoxicating substance contained in cannabis. At the end of 2020, it was annulled by the Court of Justice of the European Union. It was then concluded that the available scientific studies did not show any psychoactive or harmful effects in CBD (cannabidiol).
Established in 1932, the French National Federation of Cannabis Producers is one of the oldest French agricultural organizations. The goal of the federation is to provide the best cannabis seeds and varieties to meet market demands. Adjustments include fibre amount, seed size, olein composition, and protein content. This made France the main supplier of cannabis seeds in the world. Countries such as Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Australia buy significant amounts of seeds from France. 40% of the seeds produced are exported from France! In 2018-2020, FNPC invested 80,000 euros in the development of research on the cultivation of hemp. In addition, France has tripled its hemp cultivation area in the last 30 years. Hemp production could take 25,000-30,000 hectares over ten years.
As you can see, the French cannabis industry has great potential. It must be admitted that it fits perfectly with the current consumer demand for healthy food, support for the local economy and environmental protection.
One of the fastest-growing sectors of the hemp industry in France is the construction sector, where hemp is used in insulation and concrete. About 300 hemp houses have been built in France since 2000. The construction rate is said to have increased by 400% in the last 10 years. According to the latest research, the use of hemp fibers in this country will increase by 300% in the next 25 years. It is likely that hemp will be used in the construction of the Olympic Village in 2024.
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