After a decade-long struggle, a Swedish hemp farmer from Holland has won a favourable court ruling which declared the state’s seizure of his crop illegal. For all the legal wrangling, which was heard in both Swedish and European courts, the man was awarded just SEK 10,000 (USD 1,500) compensation.
In 2000, the application by the farmer to grow the hemp crop for medicinal purposes was rejected by the Swedish Medical Products Agency. The judgement was based upon national narcotics legislation, but the matter was remitted and won the favour of the county administrative court. The application was again rejected by the agency in 2001; however the EU commission determined that year that such a ban was not legal under union laws governing industrial hemp production. Still, the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs argued that national law outranked EU law and refused to alter its stance.
On four separate occasions in 2001, harvested hemp was seized from the farm by police under suspicion of serious drug offences. Permission was requested to confiscate the crop but an EU court again ruled in the man’s favour in January 2003, a decision later revoked that March.
The Local reports that some seven tonnes of hemp were destroyed leaving the man pleading with the justice chancellor (JK) for SEK 35,000-40,000 (USD 5,000) in damages. JK has since declared that the seven tonnes equated to SEK 10,000 (USD 1,500).
One of nature’s strongest and oldest natural fibres, hemp grows herbicide-free and requires few pesticides. A fast growing biomass, industrial hemp is durable and soft and used for manufacturing health food, fuel, paper and textiles; despite its classification under the Cannabis genus.