The recently formed Federation of International Hemp Organisations (FIHO) has issued a position paper on hemp terminology in an attempt to distinguish it from other forms of cannabis.

While high-THC marijuana and low-THC hemp are separate varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa L., legislators and regulators often confuse the two.

The FIHO said its recommendations would help individual jurisdictions develop regulations that recognise country-by-country differences, but clearly distinguish marijuana from hemp.

The body defines “hemp products” as all those derived from hemp that comply with regulations in the jurisdiction where they are marketed. 

“Hemp” would be defined as a variety of Cannabis sativa L., the scientific name for the plant species which includes both marijuana and hemp. 

The definition extends to any part of the hemp plant in which the concentration of THC in the flowers and leaves does not exceed the maximum level established by local authorities. 

FIHO board chair Ted Haney

Most countries operate on a THC limit of 0.3% for crops in the field, but some have recently increased to, or adopted, 1% THC as the threshold for hemp.

The recommendations would also differentiate hemp crops from hemp products, and base THC limits on the amounts in those final products, rather than in the harvested plant. 

FIHO said creating a common language would unlock innovation and ease the incorporation of hemp products into global supply chains.

“Humankind’s global relationship with hemp spans millennia; with production and trade in a large array of hemp products, used for many purposes across time, continents and civilisations,” said FIHO board chair and president of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance Ted Haney.

“It is about time that we use the same language and terminology across continents to define hemp in all its aspects,” 

FIHO vice board chair and president of the European Industrial Hemp Association Daniel Kruse added: “With this new position on terminology, major global actors [in] the hemp sector show their capacity to work together and speak with one voice. 

“We now expect policy makers to embrace this position and apply common terminology in all regions and countries of the world.” 

FIHO was formed last year by a group of 20 global hemp organisations representing 50 countries to address key issues affecting the industry worldwide, interact with relevant international bodies and present a unified global voice.

Leading Australian hemp advocate Charles Kovess is secretary of the new body.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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