To say conditions are challenging at the moment in Ukraine for just about anything would be an understatement. But the country’s hemp industry is pushing ahead.
Hemp has been cultivated in Ukraine for centuries. Currently, industrial hemp production is allowed only for seed and fiber, and growers must apply for a license in advance of the growing season. THC content of plants must not exceed 0.08%, otherwise it is no longer considered hemp and becomes marijuana – and Ukraine has some pretty tough laws in relation to marijuana.
The maximum THC threshold is incredibly low compared to many other countries. For example, in the USA it’s 0.3 per cent. This has really limited the varieties available to farmers and puts them at a disadvantage in terms of competing with farmers in other jurisdictions. They are also disadvantaged by not being able to produce hemp for CBD extraction.
However, In July last year Ukraine’s Ministry of Healthcare (MoH) published a draft resolution that would allow medical use of cannabis-based products, and there is also a push to raise the 0.08% THC threshold for hemp to 1% – a big jump.
While not a huge amount of hemp is currently harvested in the country, what is needs to be processed and facilities for doing so are thin on the ground.
Early this week it was announced by Michel Terestchenko, who was previously Mayor of Hlukhiv, an old flax plant in the village of Rizhanni is to be transformed into a cannabis cultivation and processing facility.
“This is a very good project that will promote the reconstruction and European integration of Ukraine, which will create an alternative to supply from China,” said Mr. Terestchenko (translated) “This will allow to revive the tradition of textile cannabis in Zhytomyr and Europe.”
According to a (translated) government announcement, the total area of production and warehouse premises will cover almost 12,000 m². All going well, the planned start date of processing is October 2024.
Michel Tereshchenko is the majority shareholder of PJSC “Volodarsko-Volyn Flax Mill”, and is spearheading the efforts to establish the cannabis facility; which is occurring in consultation with the Zhytomyr Regional Military Administration.
Here’s hoping the project goes ahead – and is able to commence operations in a Ukraine finally free of military conflict.