British Hemp Association

Our Mission:

Educate. Lobby. Connect.

cReATING a sustainable & environmentally responsible future.

Our Story

The UK has a unique opportunity to establish a leading position within one of the most important and rapidly growing agricultural and industrial markets that has emerged for decades.

In response, the British Hemp Association has been formed by a group of hemp businesses and industry advocates. It is part of a growing worldwide movement that supports hemp and the use of the whole plant and we have joined together to promote a healthy and robust hemp industry here in Britain.

Hemp has been used globally for thousands of years as an extremely versatile, robust and environmentally friendly plant delivering considerable societal and economic benefits to people and communities. It is one of the oldest food crops in our diet, and the basis of one of the oldest fabrics used by humans.

Environmental Protection

Hemp grows to between 1.8 and 4.5 metres tall  (dependent on variety/cultivar) in four to five months in the UK. Weeds are almost eradicated due to the dense canopy of shade leaves, eradicating the need for pesticides and herbicides. It can also be grown with no agricultural chemicals, reducing soil toxicity.

Restores Soil Health

Hemp is so versatile that it thrives in  adverse soil conditions. It sends out strong root networks, locking Nitrogen in it’s leaves. The deep roots provide a binding function, helping to prevent soil erosion, and hemp was also used to clean up the nuclear spill in Chernobyl, Russia.

Carbon Sequestration

One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb approximately 15 tonnes of CO2 (Lhoist 2016) making it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools. Industrial hemp is the perfect carbon sink because it absorbs more CO2 per hectare, annually, than any other commercial crop or commercial forestry.


While they come from the same plant species, Cannabis Sativa, hemp products have only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Industrial Hemp cannot get you high.

hemp has a long history in the u.k.

In 1533, King Henry VIII made hemp cultivation compulsory by law. For every 60 acres, farmers had to grow about 1/4 acre of flax or hemp, or else they would face a fine for breaking the law. They could even pay their taxes with Hemp.

present hemp situation in the u.k.

In the UK, it is estimated that the maximum area under cultivation is no more than 810 hectares.  By comparison,  in 2016, Europe cultivated over 33,000 hectares of industrial hemp an increase of more than 30% on the previous year.  

hemp is making a come back

Although the size of the UK hemp cultivation sector is currently extremely small, we are already bringing innovation to the industry through pioneering research at York University and other leading institutions.

hemp for humanity

Globally, hemp has been recognised for thousands of years as an extremely versatile, robust and environmentally friendly plant delivering considerable societal and economic benefits to people and communities.

make hemp farming accessible

For hemp to be a viable cash crop for our farmers and processors, we need to be allowed to utilise the entire plant.  The BHA's focus is to contribute to inform, educate and lobby for progressive and environmentally responsible legislative change.




Market Entry Opportunities

Hemp offers over 10,000 diverse industrial applications ranging from an ideal plant protein to a graphene substitute and including; bioplastics, construction, food and beverages, textiles, paper, composite panels for the automotive industry, food supplements, other composite materials and biofuels.

The BHA connects hemp farmers, processors, entrepreneurs and other hemp-based businesses to help this rapidly growing sector become a major and environmentally beneficial industry in the UK.

"It has been calculated that the serial implementation of lightweight biomaterials on high volume vehicles will deliver a reduction of 40,000 tons of CO2 emissions and the ability to drive an additional 325 million kilometres with the same quantity of fuel." - Autocar Pro News Desk 18 Mar , 2018

Hemp Cultivation and Farming

The BHA has responded to the Defra Consultation: Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit which closed on 8 May 2018.  Our contribution to this consultation is the first step towards creating a Hemp Farm Bill.  

The BHA supports farmers and the hemp industry by educating and lobbying to remove current barriers, which dates back to legislation created in the 1960s and bring hemp into the 21st century.  Our aim is to enable utilisation of the whole plant.

If you are interested in growing industrial hemp, you will need to apply to the Home Office for a cultivation licence. Please read this important Hemp Growers Information provided by the Home Office.

Industrial Applications

At present the hemp industry is limited in its industrial applications due to the barriers to growth and the restrictions placed on businesses and growers, specifically, being unable to process the whole plant. 

The scale of opportunity for hemp's numerous industrial applications is considerable and global.  The worldwide movement towards creating environmentally responsible manufactured products places industrial hemp at the forefront of product innovation, with major societal and economic benefits  possible for the UK.  

Europe is expected to grow over 125,000 acres of hemp in 2018, supplying the car composites market. Canada is expected to cultivate around 250,000 acres, and now has the first industrial scale bio-plastics facility.  China has also increased its hemp output in the last few years. It grew 74,000 acres in 2017 and is expected to cultivate 150,000 acres this year.  The Chinese army became the first bulk consumers for uniforms and socks.  At the 2017 International Conference On Hemp Industry the Chinese Hemp Alliance showcased very fine hemp fabrics of an unprecedented quality.    

Hemp Foods and CBD Oils 

Naturally gluten-free, Hemp seed protein can supply any diet with a vegetarian source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, chlorophyll, together with the essential fatty acids and amino acids 3-6-9 needed for a healthy body and mind.

Hemp-derived cannabidiol or CBD has been declared by the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, as safe and tolerated in humans and animals. Supplements obtained from hemp contain many health promoting compounds, including particularly the phytocannabinoids/CBD and also provides important nutrients to maintain, support and optimise our mental and physical well-being.

If you are a producer, primary importer or UK white/private label brand owner, you need to comply with UK Food Law.  The BHA is working on a document for members that references food law and best practice when selling hemp extract/CBD food supplements. If you are a reseller, there is no obligation to join any particular association; all you need to do is comply with the Health Claims Regulations.  

BHA Members

Launched in 2018, the British Hemp Association is a coalition of hemp-based companies representing every link of the product chain, from seed to shelf. 

In order to leverage and maximise this new opportunity for hemp, we need to remove ‘blockages’ to development; in particular growers and processors need to be empowered to fully utilise the entire industrial hemp plant and all its products.

We believe it is clear, that the UK has a real opportunity to play a leading role in the development and expansion of this rapidly emerging industry; bringing a new ‘cash-crop’ to UK agriculture, creating jobs across the entire supply chain and establishing a ‘hemp innovation’ hub for Europe.



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