Written answers

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Industry

Pauline Tully (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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1104. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the role of his Department in prohibiting the marketing of hemp-derived agricultural food products in Ireland in view of the CJEU ruling of 19 November 2020 and statements by the European Commission on 2 and 3 December 2020 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44721/20]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The growing of hemp by farmers is subject to specific licence granted by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), which operates under the auspices of the Department of Health. In addition, the cultivation of hemp (Cannabis genus) is restricted to varieties having less than 0.2% content of the narcotic compound Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis (which includes hemp) is listed in schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2017, as amended, which means it is subject to the strictest level of control.

The legislative position is primarily, therefore, a matter for the Health Products Regulatory Authority and Department of Health as my Department has no legal role in prohibiting the placing on the market of food product containing hemp.

Pauline Tully (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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1105. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to lift the sanctions his Department imposed on the Irish hemp industry; if he will defend the rights of Irish hemp farmers and processors to market their agricultural product; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44722/20]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The Deputy will be aware that the Programme for Government (PFG) has committed to exploring the potential for the growing of fibre crops such as hemp.  

My Department has, and continues to, engage with relevant stakeholders from different hemp representative bodies to fully explore the viability of growing fibre crops such as hemp.

In relation to the suggestion regarding sanctions being imposed on the hemp industry relating to access to the Credit Guarantee Scheme, my Department has not imposed any such sanctions.

The growing of hemp is included as an eligible crop under the conditionality for  the Credit Guarantee Scheme. This is where the crop is grown for fibre which is in line with the licence to cultivate hemp issued by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations which specifically states it is for fibre use.

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