A married couple who started a modest industrial hemp farm in Gautavík, East Iceland, are still having a hard time convincing the Icelandic Medicines Agency (IMA) that they are not growing plants that can be used for the purposes of intoxication. Despite police testing samples of the hemp and finding no measurable levels of THC—the compound in cannabis that induces intoxication—the IMA still contend that these plants fall under the purview of Iceland’s laws on intoxicating and addictive substances.
Austurfrétt reports that Pálmi Einarsson and Oddný Anna Björnsdóttir imported hemp seeds last spring for the purposes of growing industrial hemp, a strain of cannabis sativa with very little THC in it. These plants are grown specifically for the strong and durable fibres they produce, or for their seeds, which are sold in many countries, including Iceland, for their nutritional value.
Pálmi and Oddný believed they were well within their rights to import the seeds and cultivate the plants after receiving confirmation from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, and because the IMA had previously ruled that hemp seeds do not fall under Iceland’s drug laws.
However, last November police visited the farm at the behest of the IMA. The farmers were not informed ahead of time that the police would be visiting, nor did the IMA ask the farmers for any additional information on the plants they were cultivating. Police took samples, and tested them. After finding that the samples contained no measurable levels of THC, the police dropped the case last March.
Despite this, the IMA still contends that the plants fall under the purview of Iceland’s laws on intoxicating and addictive substances. The matter is still in a state of uncertainty; the IMA has its hands full with the coronavirus at the moment. Oddný told Austrufrétt that there are some parties interested in buying their hemp, but it is still unclear if growing will commence this summer.
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