It Is Time to Remove Hemp from List of Controlled Substances Globally

The global hemp industry developed a framework of recommendations for governments with the goal of one set of regulations for hemp production and trade around the world

“The global consensus is clear. It is now time to remove hemp from the list of controlled substances around the world, for the benefit of health-conscious consumers, farmers, and economic development and trade,” said Keith Jones, President of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA).

“We are proud of the work our organization, our partners and our Executive Director Ted Haney have done to get the major hemp producers pulling together for our shared industry.

” The Common Position of the Industrial Hemp Sector on the Single Convention and the International Drug Control System was jointly issued by the following hemp associations: Asia-Pacific CBD Union; Australian Hemp Council; British Hemp Alliance; Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance; European Industrial Hemp Association; Hokkaido Hemp Association; Hemp Industries Association; Latin American Industrial Hemp Alliance; Mongolian Hemp Association; National Hemp Alliance; and New Zealand Hemp Industries Association. Special recognition goes to the European Industrial Hemp Alliance for their leadership on this project.

“One of the major roadblocks to growth in the hemp industry is that countries around the world regulate hemp in a different ways,” explained Ted Haney. “Some treat it as an agricultural product; others as a narcotic. The current patchwork of regulations makes selling hemp internationally very difficult.”

The global hemp industry developed a framework of recommendations for governments that each association will present to their respective jurisdictions – with the goal of one set of regulations for hemp production and trade around the world.

“We are all focused on ensuring that governments and regulators around the world recognize hemp as an agricultural product not a drug and, therefore, the regulations should reflect this status,” explained Haney.

The synopsis of the recommendations in the report includes:

1. Cannabis sativa L. is an “agricultural product,” and considered as such in the European Union (EU), the United States of America (USA), Canada, New Zealand, and many other national jurisdictions. Similarly, 1. Cannabis sativa L. is considered as an “industrial plant” as long as it is not used to obtain drugs;

2. All parts of the plant and their derived products are excluded from the scope of control measures when used for other than drug-related medical and scientific purposes;

3. In practice, the exemption for the cultivation and processing of Cannabis sativa L. for industrial purposes is enforced via the compliance with specific levels of THC; no other substance (i.e. cannabidiol (CBD) or any other cannabinoid) shall be considered for the determination of the lawfulness of industrial Cannabis crops and products;

4. The potential for misuse of Cannabis leaves should continue to be prevented through the setting of appropriate THC limits (as established by authorities having jurisdiction), to comply with the provisions of C61’s Article 28(3);

5. The international hemp sector proposes a THC threshold in hemp flowers and leaves to be established at 1.0% post-decarboxylation;

6. The reason for international control of “cannabis”, drug preparations and THC is their potential for intoxication, addiction and habituation. The reason for exempting hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) and hemp products from international control is the absence of these effects and the lack of ability to misuse; and,

7. Industrial Hemp (or “hemp”) should be defined as “a Cannabis sativa L. plant – or any part of the plant – in which the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the flowering or fruiting tops is less than the regulated maximum level, as established by authorities having jurisdiction.” “Hemp extracts” or “hemp products” should be defined as “products or preparations derived from industrial

The World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence has recommended that low-THC hemp (cannabis) extracts be removed from inter-governmental regulation. That recommendation has been delivered to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), who will meet in December 2020 to consider delisting such products from the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (C61) and the Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances (C71).

The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) calls on the Government of Canada to demonstrate leadership at the upcoming CND meeting and support the modernization of international hemp regulation. This represents the removal of a significant barrier to growth of the Canadian hemp industry, which is poised to make the following contributions to the Canadian farm and general economy over the next 10 years:

• 360,000 additional seeded acres;
• $320 million new farm-gate sales;
• $960 million new value-added industry sales;
• $750 million new exports;
• 9,000 new jobs;
• $350 million new annual capital spending;
• $48 million new annual R&D spending; and,
• $1.6 billion new economic contributions to the Canadian economy.

“We know that change will not be easy. However, by working together with other Associations around the world we will see Hemp recognized as the valuable crop it is. With the major hemp associations working together it is only a matter of time until governments see the value in changing the regulations controlling hemp production,” concluded Jones.

The Canadian Hemp Alliance (CHTA) is a national industry association that promotes Canadian hemp and hemp products globally. Established in 2003, the Alliance represents those involved in Canada’s hemp industry. Members include farmers, processors, manufacturers, researchers, entrepreneurs and marketers. The key functions of the Alliance are to disseminate information, promote the use of nutritional and industrial hemp products, develop standards and coordinate research.


To view the entire Common Position of the Industrial Hemp Sector on the Single Convention and the International Drug Control System CLICK HERE.


Canadian Hemp Alliance, press release, 2020-09-17.


Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA)
European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA)
Government of Canada
World Health Organization (WHO)


Renewable Carbon News – Daily Newsletter

Subscribe to our daily email newsletter – the world's leading newsletter on renewable materials and chemicals