CzecHemp cluster has ambitious plans but must still fight stigma

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A Czech-based hemp cluster said pushing for a stable legal environment for the sector will continue to be its main focus after developing a three-year plan that will push a number of initiatives aimed at advancing the industry.

CzecHemp, which marks its third anniversary this month, said it still sees a need to fight the stigma of the cannabis plant, and for removal of legislative barriers as it pushes for mass cultivation and processing through supply chain development.

“The harmonization of cannabis law in order to ensure a smooth common market will remain a legislative challenge,” the group said in announcing its three-year plan.

Laws need clarification

CzecHemp presented a list of recommendations for legislative change in the Czech Republic in a white paper early in 2020. Central to the legal issues is a need to separate hemp’s industrial uses from cannabis for medical purposes in the Czech legal framework – including clarification of narcotics laws — which will allow development of subsectors in textiles, construction, food, paper and cosmetics, products in which hemp can replace environmentally harmful fossil-based raw materials, the cluster said.

In addition to those products, hemp also offers potential for the production of bioplastics, applications for electrical engineering based on the use of activated carbon from hemp biochar and, as plant biomass, for energy purposes, according to CzecHemp.

“Cannabis cultivation is absolutely essential for soil revitalization, reducing biodiversity loss and, given its high carbon sequestration capacity, also for combating climate change,” said Hana Gabrielova, CzecHemp’s President, and CEO at legacy European hemp company Hempoint s.r.o.

Start the bioeconomy

“It is high time that the legislative barriers of the cannabis industry were removed so that the bioeconomy for the 21st century can begin to be built,” Gabrielova said.

The CzecHemp cluster comprises 23 member organizations, including private companies, and public sector, research and education institutions which work together to strengthen cooperation among Czech hemp and medical cannabis stakeholders. Plans call for growing the cluster’s membership base to include public educational institutions for the expansion of research and development projects.

CzecHemp is a partner in a broader bioeconomy platform in the Czech Republic, and participates in the National Cluster Association and the European Cluster Cooperation platform, with which CzecHemp exchanges information and resources and organizes educational and professional programs.

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