Organizations from around the world are joining to form an international association to advance the interests of the hemp industry.
The new body, as yet unnamed, will work to establish industry development priorities, and officially represent hemp stakeholders before global intergovernmental agencies, with a core first objective to remove hemp and hemp extracts from the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, said Daniel Kruse, President of the European Industrial Hemp Association, and one of the initiators of the global effort.
The group intends to interface with international agencies such as the World Health Organization, the UN’s Committee on Narcotic Drugs; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; and the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) on matters related to that agency’s Codex Alimentarius, internationally recognized standards for food production and safety.
The association also will work on environmental issues and represent the hemp industry before the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is under the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization.
The new organization will “champion a diverse and robust hemp industry that benefits all stakeholders along the value chain,” according to a startup document that outlined the group’s mission.
“The international association can foster engagement in multilateral relations, advance the industry’s agenda, statistical programs, partnerships, trade, and global regulation,” Kruse said. “It will improve substantive engagement among the hemp sector and benefit all, globally and nationally, as a result.”
A wide range of issues and challenges could also be addressed by the new association based on hemp’s potential to mitigate climate change and advance sustainable development, Kruse said.
“There is a compelling need to develop a new international hemp organization to allow industries from around the world to create a single voice,” said Ted Haney, President & CEO at the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, another of the lead organizers. “The new organization will also create a place for hemp industry players to cooperate, coordinate, share information, advocate, and co-create.”
Product and process standards, crop protection, standards for maximum chemical residue levels, seed registration standards, and international standards for maximum THC levels for hemp flowers and finished goods are all among the many pressing issues identified by the initiative.
Enthusiasm is high
Charter members from around the globe spoke of their enthusiasm for the project.
“The organizations that are getting together to form this new global-wide initiative are formed by some of the most experienced and high-level professionals within the industry,” said Lorenzo Rolim da Silva, President of the Latin-American Industrial Hemp Association.
“Our goal is to create a world where hemp is truly integrated into multiple other industries and in agriculture all over the world,” Rolim da Silva said.
“We look forward to joining this visionary mission to consolidate and strengthen cooperation for development of the hemp industry on a global level,” said Anar Artur of the Mongolian Hemp Association. “Mongolian farmers and manufacturers are actively showing interest and joining our local association. They are aware of hemp’s future. We welcome hemp entrepreneurs to Mongolia.”
First funds raised
A round of fundraising among various national associations is already completed and the group has appointed Emerging Ag, a Manitoba-based boutique communications and public affairs consultancy as a facilitator on the project.
Emerging Ag already works with international organizations on global policy issues in the agriculture, food and health sectors. The company serves as the secretariat for the International Agri-Food Network, which coordinates consultation on policy recommendations to the Committee on World Food Security.
Haney said the group will most likely be headquartered in Europe for best access to intergovernmental agencies with whom the new association will eventually register formal relationships. The group will now develop a governance structure, initial budgets, strategy, and a work plan going forward. Information on the group’s membership program will be forthcoming.
Kruse said the new global association is also considering setting up a parallel technical association that would publish an international hemp research journal and create a peer review network. That would fill a current gap in which research carried out on hemp and its multiple applications is not comprehensively compiled, Kruse said.
The working group initiating the project includes representatives of:
Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance; Mongolian Hemp Association; Australian Hemp Association; European Industrial Hemp Association; Hokkaido Industrial Hemp Association; China Hemp Alliance; Latin-American Industrial Hemp Association; Friends of Hemp (South Africa); Chamber of Industrial Hemp of Paraguay (CCIP); Uttarakhand Hemp Association (India); and the Indian Industrial Hemp Association.
From the USA: American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp; Texas Hemp Growers Association; Oregon Hemp Association; National Hemp Association; Hemp Industries Association; National Industrial Hemp Council; Kentucky Hemp Association; Hemp Feed Coalition.