Home > Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine debate. Hemp industry: discussion.

[Oireachtas] Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine debate. Hemp industry: discussion. (27 Apr 2022)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/joint_...

Chairman: The purpose of the second session is to examine the development of the hemp sector. I welcome Mr. Michael Moloney and Mr. Cara Mac Aodháin, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. I also welcome Dr. Frank O'Mara, director, Mr. John Spink, head of programme, crop science department, and Mr. Barry Caslin, energy and rural development specialist, farm management and rural innovation, Teagasc. Both the Department and Teagasc have opening statements and I invite Mr. Moloney to make his opening statement.

Mr. Michael Moloney: I thank the Chairman and members for the opportunity to discuss the development of the hemp sector in Ireland. At the outset it is important that I clearly set out the responsibilities concerning hemp.

Cannabis and industrial hemp both derive from the species cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects. 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. Legislation on cannabis, which includes hemp, is not a matter for this Department and it would not be appropriate for us to discuss any issues on the legal aspects that govern hemp. It should be noted that it is an offence to cultivate, import, export, produce, supply and possess cannabis, including hemp, except in accordance with a licence issued by the Minister for Health.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine regularly receives correspondence from interested parties on various aspects of the subject, including the legislative position and the potential commercial development of the industry. On foot of this interest, the current programme for Government includes a commitment to fully explore fibre crops such as hemp and consider whether these crops have a viable market. It is from that perspective that the Department is interested in examining the viability of growing hemp for fibre....

[For the full debate, click on this link to the Oireachtas website]

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