The recent passage of rules in the E.U. allowed an increase in max THC to 0.3% from 0.2%. It was 0.3% until 1999. Switzerland (which is not in the E.U.) is 1%, as are many other nations.
The legislation also allows importation of foreign seed that is 0.3%, such as the Canadian varieties, subject to the standard requirements for equivalency. The hemp seed certification schemes in the U.S. states are hybrid and it is possible they will not be accepted by E.U. authorities. Otherwise the European hemp industry is required to use one of the 75 approved varieties in the E.U. plant variety catalog. Most are for fibre, some for seed, none for cannabinoids. New varieties are expected to be approved soon, especially in Type 3 (CBD dominant) and Type 4 (CBG dominant).
The regulations also re-affirmed the established Marketing Standards required to get CAP subsidies. Fibre is the only hemp product eligible for subsidies of 66-75€ per ton. If more than one crop per year is allowed, one could conceivably grow many short crops of hemp fibre for the subsidy.
The relevant text:
REGULATION (EU) No 1308/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
of 17 December 2013
20.12.2013 Official Journal of the European Union L 347/671
(154) In order to prevent illicit crops from disturbing the market for hemp for fibre, this Regulation should provide for checks on imports of hemp and hemp seed to ensure that such products offer certain guarantees with regard to their tetrahydrocannabinol content. In addition, imports of hemp seed intended for uses other than sowing should continue to be subject to a control system which provides for the importers concerned to be authorised.
The following marketing years shall be established:
(c) 1 July to 30 June of the following year for:
(iv) the flax and hemp sector;
(d) additional conditions for import licences for hemp in accordance with Article 189 and the principle of administrative assistance between Member States to prevent or deal with cases of fraud and irregularities;
Special import provisions for certain products
Imports of hemp
- The following products may be imported into the Union only if the following conditions are met:
(a) raw true hemp falling within CN code 5302 10 00 meeting the conditions laid down in Article 32(6) and in Article 35(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013
(b) seeds of varieties of hemp falling within CN code ex 1207 99 20 for sowing accompanied by proof that the tetrahydrocannabinol level of the variety concerned does not exceed that fixed in accordance with Article 32(6) and in Article 35(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013;
(c) hemp seeds other than for sowing, falling within CN code 1207 99 91 and imported only by importers authorised by the Member State in order to ensure that such seeds are not intended for sowing.
- This Article shall apply without prejudice to more restrictive rules adopted by Member States in compliance with the TFEU and the obligations under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture.
LIST OF PRODUCTS REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 1(2)
Flax and hemp
The flax and hemp sector shall cover the products listed in the following table: CN code
Flax, raw or processed but not spun; flax tow and waste (including yarn waste and garnetted stock)
True hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) raw or processed but not spun; tow and waste of true hemp (including yarn waste and garnetted stock)
“Other products” means all agricultural products other than those listed in Parts I to XXIII, including those listed in the following Sections 1 and 2 of this Part.
Section 1 CN code
1207 99 91
Hemp seeds, whether or not broken, other than for sowing