It has been a while since the last update. The situation for hemp in Portugal has gotten a little worse this year on account of the new Portaria 14/2022. The new regulation makes it especially hard for small and medium sized farmers to enter the hemp market. As of now, the easiest route to make a profitable plantation of hemp on a smaller scale with relatively low need for investment is the production of hemp flower. The flowers are sold in shops all over Portugal now, but the shop owners are forced to procure their merchandise from outside of the country. The new regulation hinders the access of the Portuguese farmers to their own market as well as the European market (or world-wide market) on hemp flower.
It also provides a significant barrier for farmers to enter the hemp production in general, develop a revenue stream to use to branch out into more investment-intensive areas of production like seeds and fibre (successively more costly to develop) and so destroys the chances of Portuguese farmers to develop the very areas it alleges to allow. In addition, even if someone would be foolhardy enough to set up cultivation for fibre, the current rules curtail an important revenue stream (as the inflorescence is not supposed to leave the farm) that competitors all over Europe are allowed to use, dooming the enterprise from the start.
We have set up a workgroup to develop political pressure to change the regulation such that Portuguese farmers are given a fair chance to enter the new market. This is not only important on then economical level, but also on the ecological front, since hemp has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions and produce sustainable alternatives to many current products, which make continuously less sense in our situation, from biodegradable plastics to building to textiles. This new ecosystem of products can not develop under the current regulation.
Political pressure lives and dies with participation. Only if people care enough about their future to move together and articulate their demands clearly, supported by actions, can we accomplish change. I would therefore ask you to join our action group. We meet (online) every Wednesday night, have a Whatsapp channel and there are many ways to contribute.