Nationwide Hemp Protests Plant Seeds of Rebellion
Seed The Future protestors plant thousands of hemp seeds nationwide, breaking UK law, to kickstart the fight for hemp to be grown freely.
On Sunday 19th July, Seed the Future kick-started a rebellion with a series of demonstrations across the country designed to publicise the legal plight of the hemp plant.
Protestors planted thousands of hemp seeds nationwide, an act which is illegal, to launch the fight for the right of the hemp plant to be grown freely in the UK.
The Seed the Future campaign is a national grassroots hemp movement; they aim to make the government remove the political barriers that restrict hemp and to bring this most demonised of weeds to the attention of the mainstream.
The central London demonstration was admirably held directly outside New Scotland Yard, which saw dozens of police watching on as peaceful protestors spoke passionately about the untapped potential of hemp and the hypocrisy of its legal status.
Discussion highlighted the hemp market’s potential to create jobs, boost the economy, produce plant-based biodegradable products, ignite innovation and cutting edge research and development, while also tackling climate change and offering greener solutions to other industries.
Potted hemp plants were brought along by some green-fingered protestors, all of which were seized by police and taken to be destroyed. One activist received a police caution for their travelling hemp plant, but no arrests were made.
Other synchronised demo’s took part across the UK in Brighton, Exeter, Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.
At each event stalls were set up with hemp seeds and pots of soil for people to plant themselves, thus committing the victimless crime of hemp cultivation and highlighting the absurdity of the law.
The National Hemp Service team were proud to plant hemp seeds outside New Scotland Yard in support of the Seed the Future campaign - we think it's high time that the UK embraces hemp with an approach based on the facts, rather than the stigma.
What is hemp and what is the law in the UK?
Hemp is cannabis - otherwise known as Cannabis Sativa L - but hemp describes varieties of cannabis that have very low concentrations of THC.
Being low in THC means that hemp is non-intoxicating, so unlike cannabis, hemp can't get you high.
In the UK, hemp is cannabis that contains less than 0.2% THC, but the legal levels of THC content that define what counts as a hemp plant varies from country to country. The U.S. describes hemp as falling under 0.3% THC, whereas Switzerland permits up to 1% THC in their hemp plants.
The minute differences in legal THC levels are not based on any scientific distinctions in plant biology but instead reflect the national government's willingness to destigmatize hemp and acknowledge the true scientific potential of the plant.
In reality, a higher dose of THC makes for a healthier hemp plant. If UK regulations changed from 0.02% to 1% THC there would be no psychoactive effect; however, the plants would be notably healthier and could produce better crops and flowers.
Hemp is actually one of the most versatile and useful plants around with over 50,000 uses - it can be used in biofuel, building, textiles, plastic, paper, food, milk, medicine, skincare and more. However scientific research and development has been stunted due to decades of prohibition and restriction, so we're really only now beginning to unlock hemp's potential.
Currently in the UK, growing hemp without a license is a criminal act. Hemp is categorised as a controlled substance under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, and agricultural hemp licenses are managed by the Drugs and Firearms department of the Home Office.
To get a license, amongst other strict terms, you can only plant specific hemp seeds that have been EU-approved and contain less than 0.2%THC. When the approved hemp seeds are fully grown plants, farmers must then separate the leaves and flowers from each plant and destroy them on-site, thus losing the most profitable and nutritious parts of their crop.
What is the Seed The Future campaign?
The Seed the Future Campaign is a national movement that uses mass non-violent civil disobedience to bring about awareness to the unsubstantiated laws and regulations surrounding hemp.
The campaign make four demands from the government;
• Recognise hemp as a non-psychoactive, non-toxic, medicinal and industrial plant which needs to be fully decriminalised and unlicensed
• Permit the use of the whole hemp plant for all applications, as long as those portions of the plant remain below the THC threshold
• Increase the THC threshold from 0.2% to 1% to be in line with Switzerland and maintain seed biodiversity and apply a 1% allowance within the CBD industry
• Accept the research and recommendations by WHO of the safety and history of the use of cannabis to override EU Novel foods legislation in regards to cannabinoids
The next wave of nationwide protests are planned for September, and we're excited to watch them grow. If you're interested in getting involved and supporting the hemp rebellion you can keep up to date with the Seed the Future campaign below: