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Hemp license revoked for leading UK hemp and CBD grower

Hemp License Blog

Sad news at Hempen today…we have had our hemp license revoked. This is an unexpected piece of news, that has understandably sent ripples of shock and sadness throughout our lovely community. It also means that, to stay on the right side of the law (as we always want to do – our livelihoods are built on growing hemp and we rely on the support of the industry and officials), we have to destroy our beautiful hemp plants in the field. 

As you can imagine losing our hemp license is devastating for us. And we know it will have an impact on many of you, too. We want to keep everyone up-to-date with goings on, and so are sharing with you our official press release. Please do share far and wide – we are hoping that the press will be moved by our story, and the impact this has on other UK hemp farmers and our ability to grow hemp and produce CBD in the UK. We are so grateful for all of your support. We will update you with another post very soon. For now, here’s the official news on our hemp license …

Hempen Hemp sunset

uk hemp farming not-for-profit has its license to grow hemp blocked, as the home office rules around industrial hemp threaten the uk hemp and CBD industry

Today not-for-profit Hempen have begun destroying their crop in Oxfordshire, as the Home Office belatedly denied their license to grow hemp in the UK. This decision has a far-reaching impact, not just on the not-for-profit’s operations, but also on the livelihoods of its workers. 

Home Office guidance in November 2018 had made clear that British Farmers would not be allowed to harvest the lucrative flowers for CBD oil and accordingly their licence applications were just to grow seed and stalk.

 Hempen is now seeking legal advice to appeal the decision, which has left the co-operative with no other option than to destroy the crop in the next 24 hours. Hempen has been clear in the statements submitted each year to the Home Office around how the plant was to be used. The Home Office raised no issues with the intended use of the plant over the course of the three-year license, and so to have the full license revoked mid season has come as an emotional and financial shock.

This highly punitive decision puts UK hemp farmers at a disadvantage, where the most valuable part of the crop, which is used to extract CBD globally (except in the UK) is rendered worthless.

Hempen co-founder Patrick Gillett said: “In challenging economic times for British farmers, hemp is offering green shoots of hope as a rare crop that can pay for itself without subsidy. Instead of capitalising on the booming CBD industry, the Home Office’s bureaucracy is leading British farmers to destroy their own crops and millions of pounds’ worth of CBD flowers are being left to rot in the fields.” He added: “The government should move the responsibility of regulating farmers over to DEFRA and legislate to stop our CBD spending being sent abroad and be used to secure the future of British farming.”


Notes to Editors:

– Website at www.hempen.co.uk

– This licensing decision significantly affects Hempen’s business, with an estimated financial loss of  £200k expected as a result of destroying the crop. The hemp lost had the additional potential to lock in 130 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.

– Hempen Co-operative was founded as a not-for-profit in 2015, to harness the power of hemp to create rural sustainable livelihoods. The vision is to cultivate a new hemp-based economy, finding alternative ways of operating for the health of people, community and planet, utilising hemp as a sustainable alternative to thousands of common and environmentally damaging products.

– The Home Office had previously stated in writing that Hempen should continue to act as though the license had been granted, while the new license was pending. However, recent communications have contradicted this advice, leading to the need to destroy the crop. 

– Hempen will continue to work with the Home Office on the appeals process, in the hopes of having their license reinstated, and will continue to supply UK-grown organic hemp products from other organic British hemp farms. To continue to supply customers with certified organic, fully traceable CBD products, Hempen will now import CBD from partners in Europe.

– Hempen’s products include UK-grown organic hemp seed oil, hemp tea, moisturising oils and CBD products.

– Hemp is one of the world’s oldest crops, cultivated and used for 10,000 years, by ancient and modern cultures across the globe.  It is a miraculous plant with a multitude of uses, from cloth and rope to health care, nutritious food, building materials and bio-fuel. As hemp also cleans the soil and sequesters carbon from the air as it grows, it is a truly sustainable crop.

– For legal enquiries contact Industrial Hemp Licensing specialists David Hardstaff at BCL Solicitors: dharstaff@bcl.com

To discuss this press release, for print resolution photography or to schedule an interview, contact Ali Silk at media@hempen.co.uk.


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39 Responses

  1. Hi, this is so terrible.
    I was wondering if you could get support from the medical profession here in UK.
    At the Nuffield department of medicine in Oxford, they are doing trials with CBD oil.
    Surely this is completely contradictory. Well we all know that,
    Good luck

    Karen Aldridge

    1. They are disgusting.
      Can you not use this crop for seed, paper, fabric etc? Why destroy it?
      My daughter joined you for your harvest last year and loved it.

  2. Have you started a petition? I am sure if you did you would get many hundreds of thousands of signatures in just a day to help redeem this situation and allow your harvest.

  3. So saddened to hear this. Just connected with you at Seed festival and was planning to come as volunteer and learn all I could about growing this fabulous plant. Just so cast down by the powers that be that seem to have no vision in making our future safer and sustainable. What can I do to help? Much love Lou

  4. I hope you are NFU members – you should get a lot of help and support from the NFU in circumstances such as this if you are a member and free legal advice .. give them a call .. good luck

  5. Who is the MP’s husband that is growing hemp in the UK? I’ll bet he has an unchallenged licence? The MP is Victoria Atkins has been accused of “hypocrisy on a grand scale” after it emerged that she voluntarily recused herself from speaking for the government on cannabis and other aspects of her drugs brief, because her husband was involved with a legal cannabis farm. Her husband Paul Kenward is the managing director of British Sugar, which is licensed to grow cannabis.
    I wonder why this has happened????

  6. Hi im english living in holland, iv used cbd oil for arthrytes for 4 years now, no side effects whatsoever, its the only thing helps with the pain and allows me to continue working, its time england got its head out of the sand and legalise the use of hemp for medical use , or cross the bloody channel and buy it !!

  7. I am really shocked, I can’t understand why the rules in the UK are so stringent. Everywhere else in the world hemp is making a huge come back, and here we are in dark ages comes to understanding and using of hemp products. Why import if we can have home grown hemp? Beggars belief….
    Please, please keep fighting, do not give up. It is the best weed in the world!!!I I am using CBD oil and hemp oils for pain relief and it works wonders.

  8. Please do a well worded UK Gov petition enough to get 100,000 signatures to debate in parliament as it is losing a flourishing well needed crop. It can’t be lost to go overseas, it should not be about protecting corporations.

  9. Im outraged by this ridiculous decision. The goverment are taking down a not for profit for their own pocket. Hemp could have a huge role in stabilising all of our futures and I truly hope you find a way to get your power and plants back. What is wrong with people! My thoughts are with you and thank you so much for the mammoth effort, initiative and vision you had to start this coop and keep it going. Love and Peace xx

  10. My mother in law, who suffers from arthritis as well as being unable to walk without assistance after several falls and broken hips, relies on CBD products to help her sleep at night without pain. Also, it also gives us a laugh when we take her to the shop and she loudly asks for her cannabis to see what reaction she can get from other shoppers! Rulings like this are beyond belief, especially when, as you say, you can import the same products from abroad, so what’s the point?
    I hope you manage to win an appeal, I’m sure you’ll be offered support from all corners of the world.
    Good luck.

  11. We are so immensley sad that this has happened. Your crops were helping our atmosphere, your crops have helped with healing on so many levels, I can’t imagine how you must be feeling having to destroy your crops..why coupd they not just wait? Please let us know if there is a petition going around and how we can help x Our hearts go out to you xxx

  12. I’m very angry and sorry to read your news. Sensless acts by a government department that really doesn’t want to understand or see the bigger picture. Here in NZ the government are reading thru various laws to make access for hemp growers easier and for medicinal use. So to hear this news is quite frightening for all concerned. I dread to think where the world will be in a year’s time with so many evil people at the helm… Our thoughts are with you all. Best of luck

  13. I am speechless. How can this government rescind a licence they approved? Why should there now be the need to import products when your ethically home grown crops could be available? Your product has helped me so much with the pain and spasms I live with on a daily basis. I really hope your appeal is successful and your amazing farming ethos and products can continue to help people.

  14. This is the time to turn to Hemp products and away from plastics. Please put your link to the petition at the start of the article and on all facebook shares etc. Also please tell us who to write directly in the Home office or MP’s as individual letters count for a lot as well as the petition.

  15. Hemp is less harmful than a typical garden plant . The Law says it doesn’t concern over trivia , well growing a healthy harmless crop seems trivial . A local former heroin addict , who suffered a severe long-term problem , claims that CBD and oats saved his life . Miraculous !!!

  16. Hello Hempen, i will probably not get an answer from you, but nevertheless i will still ask.
    I want to start a Hemp growing business, and would greatly appreciate your help in applying for the growing licence from
    Home Office, i am looking to open this business in Kent, Ramsgate, far from you, i would greatly appreciate to get help from you
    to get this licence as well to give me tips on how to write a good business plan to be successful, i think the more farmers UK has growing Hemp
    the more stronger you will become in being the spokesmen for Hemp industry in UK, as farmers, we need to unite and help each other because only
    that way we can bring Home Office to it’s knees and bring in the change in law that you and all of us who try to make a living, i look forward in hearing from you soon. i have approached other organisations , but none respond as they are greedy just like the Government they are fighting, there is no need to get greedy, we should be helping each other as that is the only way we can be strong and work together, there is enough business for everyone.

    1. Hello Patrik, thank you for your message. It’s great that you’re looking at growing hemp! We do offer a consultancy service, if you’d like our help please do email info@hempen.co.uk for more details. Thanks again and good luck!

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