Distinguished hemp entrepreneur, activist and businessman Hugo Monteiro was arrested on drug fees in Portugal final week amid a lingering, contentious state of affairs between hemp companies and the federal government.
Monteiro, a hemp farmer and producer, and a founding member of the Agricultural Cooperative of Hemp Producers (LUSICANNA) in Portugal, was taken into custody final Thursday, Sept. 9 by the Nationwide Republican Guard (GNR) in Serpa, within the district of Beja within the central Portuguese area of Alentejo. He was launched throughout a listening to of the Serpa Judicial Court docket on Friday.
Monteiro is amongst a number of Portuguese hemp farmers who’ve criticized the nation’s Basic Directorate of Meals and Veterinary Medication (DGAV) for failing to provide hemp rising authorizations till it was too late to plant hemp for fiber and grain this yr.
Cops are busy
And he’s not the first hemp farmer in Portugal to endure arrest. Most not too long ago, police in July arrested long-time hemp grower Barry McCullough, who was also raided by officers of the GNR, within the Estremoz municipality of Évora, additionally within the Alentejo area. Brokers seized vegetation, juices, dried and packaged items, and planting seeds in that raid, together with McCullough’s cell phone and pc. He was accused of drug trafficking.
In that case, GNR admitted it couldn’t distinguish hemp from marijuana and referred supplies seized from McCullough to the Scientific Police Laboratory.
The identical appears to be true within the case of Monteiro. Cannareporter.eu reported that an officer who answered the cellphone in Beja Territorial Command stated he was undecided whether or not the seizure from Monteiro was marijuana or hemp.
Contraband watering hose
In Monteiro’s case, police confiscated 944 hashish vegetation, 30.50kg of hashish extracts, 58kg of seeds, 24 bottles of hashish oil, 2,500 meters of watering hose, a tractor, two laptops, a cell phone and greater than 64 liters of fertilizer.
Monteiro, who has been a vocal critic of DGAV, had despatched a letter to the company Aug. 27 expressing frustration over licensing delays, and indicating he supposed to plant a hemp crop. Ten days later he was arrested by GNR and informed that his farming software to the DGAV had been rejected, in keeping with Cannareporter.eu.
A number of farmers in Portugal are recognized to have put in hemp this yr with out having particular regulatory approval, presumably as a protest towards DGAV licensing delays – and to maintain their companies going.
‘We determined to sow’
“We’ve all the mandatory necessities and we take into account your delay to be very detrimental to our marketing campaign,” Monteiro wrote within the letter to DGAV, delivered by e-mail.
“In early 2021, after receiving the primary requests out of your Excellencies, we took steps to acquire the mandatory paperwork. We’ve been on this course of since February, so we can’t be held accountable for delaying the requested cultivation authorization,” the letter continues. “After the preliminary sudden constraints within the authorization course of, we determined to sow a few thousand vegetation from the seeds that have been approved in 2019.”
Licensing isn’t the one problem to hemp in Portugal. CannaCasa, the Portuguese hemp affiliation, has repeatedly tried to get readability on hemp from the DGAV in gentle of changes introduced on by a European Court docket of Justice case final yr which settled key questions concerning the legality of CBD.
Portuguese hemp stakeholders have additionally criticized guidelines in a brand new regulation protecting medical hashish and hemp which they are saying put undue burdens on the business, and are calling for key changes. The regulation, which took impact earlier this yr, covers licensing for the cultivation, manufacture, wholesale commerce, transport, distribution, import and export of cannabis-based substances for medical and industrial makes use of.
Business representatives have stated the federal government failed to think about the considerations of hemp stakeholders in establishing a authorized framework for hemp regardless of the business’s many efforts to assist form cheap guidelines.
Letter to DGAV
Full letter (e-mail) from Hugo Monteiro to the Basic Directorate of Meals and Veterinary Medication (DGAV):
[Robo-translation from the original Portuguese]
Addressed to the pinnacle of the Division of Varieties and Seeds of DGAV:
Aug. 27, 2021
Your Honor. Mrs. Dr. M. Conceição Carvalho,
We’ve hereby cleared up some misunderstanding in relation to our industrial hemp cultivation operation.
We’ve been producing biologically fragrant and medicinal vegetation within the Vale do Guadiana Pure Park, in Serpa, since 2015. We have been supported within the context of putting in younger farmers. The primary few years have been very troublesome as a result of excessive drought that came about, which led us to more and more search for resilient crops that might permit for better added worth. We left perennial irrigated crops and opted for perennial rainfed crops, akin to Rosmaninho Branco, Rosemary or Perpétua das sandy. We’ve experimented with ancestral crops akin to true saffron (Crocus sativus) with nice success, as it’s a crop appropriate for poor soil, which doesn’t want water and has excessive added worth.
Because the starting, we have now adopted methods for regeneration of poor soils, specifically the cultivation in “Okay-Line” traces that permit the retention of water within the soil and, in the long run, the rise of the humus layer. We apply “Biodynamic Agriculture” which has allowed us to get better ancestral farming methods akin to tuning in to the lunar calendar and the place of the principle constellations. All these methods present good leads to our productions and particularly within the regeneration of our farm.
After the large losses of 2017 and 2018, we have been deciding on what this land might give us. We determined to put money into the manufacturing of important oils, as we had very constructive experiences with our vegetation in distillation. This choice set our present course. We can not produce massive portions, as we do not need water, however we are able to produce vegetation with a excessive content material of important oils, because the local weather favors it.
It was on this sense that the chance for industrial hemp arose. We began in 2018 with the primary plantation, fully on an experimental foundation. We have been the primary hemp important oil producers within the nation, which makes us very proud. I ought to point out that hemp important oil doesn’t have any quantity of cannabinoids, as they’re all eradicated by the temperature of the steam. It solely has terpenes, like the opposite oils we make. We at the moment distill eighteen vegetation from this area. Hemp is for sure our innovation.
As an experimental tradition, it was successful, as the difference to the area was good. Since then we have now been enhancing the mode of manufacturing with all the present institutional constraints. I need to emphasize that we have now all the time complied with, or have tried to adjust to, the laws for the crops wherein we make investments. Hemp was no totally different. We made all of the procedures to have our operation regularized.
In 2020 the DGAV refused the authorization we requested and in early 2021 we began the authorization request. Since February, we have now been answering questions which can be requested by you. We’ve all the mandatory necessities and we take into account your delay to be very detrimental to our marketing campaign.
In early 2021, after receiving the primary requests out of your Excellencies, we took steps to acquire the mandatory paperwork. We’ve been on this course of since February, so we can’t be held accountable for delaying the requested cultivation authorization. This authorization request in 2021 comes within the sense of complementing our manufacturing expertise, with oil manufacturing from chilly pressed seed.
After the preliminary sudden constraints within the authorization course of, we determined to sow a few thousand vegetation from the seeds that have been approved in 2019, so as to adapt the crop to the oil from the seeds. That’s the reason we have already got some vegetation within the subject, from approved and authorized seeds, and we’re ready in your authorization to extend this experimental manufacturing. These seeds are from an authorized lot and we have already got evaluation of the manufacturing that we ship within the attachment.
Our intention stays to experiment and show agronomic methods which can be favorable to soil regeneration and able to giving an financial return to younger farmers, which motivates them to make a change of their lives in a extra sustainable manner.
I’m accessible for any clarification in individual or on-line.
Yours sincerely, from Serra de Serpa,