EU cannabis crackdown may hit hemp

19 November 1999

EU cannabis crackdown may hit hemp

A CRACKDOWN by the European Union on the growing of hemp and flax may hit UK attempts to develop innovative applications for the natural fibre.

The EU has seen a quadrupling of the acreage sown to flax and hemp in the last four years.

But suspicions have been raised that some farmers are using the crop as a cover for the cultivation of cannabis, its close biological relative.

Now the EU has unveiled proposals to tighten surveillance and reduce spending on the sector.

However, British processors have been developing markets for the natural fibres as environmentally friendly, recyclable alternatives to natural fibres.

In Britain, 15,000ha (36,855 acres) are sown to short-fibre flax and 1600ha (3706 acres) are sown to hemp.

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