Review of Regulatory Frameworks

GLOBALG.A.P. has selected ADAS to lead a project assessing the interest in a responsible agriculture standard for the cannabis sector.

The project, which commenced in January 2020, seeks to review the regulatory frameworks that regulate cannabis use issues in key countries around the world and across four key areas: the production and consumption of cannabidiol (CBD); the use of recreational cannabis; medicinal cannabis; and the use of cannabis for the production of seed and fibers that can be used for applications from bioplastics to textiles to construction materials.

Cannabis has been a highly controversial plant for many years, but the legislative framework is changing; with recreational use legalized in countries such as Canada and regulations permitting medicinal use increasing in countries such as the UK. In many countries, CBD is a booming product for the health and well-being market. Cannabis can no longer be ignored or treated only as an illicit substance – though staying on top of the legislation for how it can be grown and used in countries around the world is a challenge.

GLOBALG.A.P., as a leader in the certification of responsible agriculture, is working with stakeholders to consider developing a standard specifically aimed at agricultural producer level of the cannabis sector. To help support research and investigation into the potential uses and benefits of a standard, GLOBALG.A.P. has chosen ADAS to take a lead on market analysis.

ADAS has been working deeply with agriculture for nearly 80 years and is owned by the RSK Group, a large independent environmental services group with headquarters in the UK. In recent years, ADAS has been supporting knowledge-building in the cannabis sector. ADAS is no stranger to the cannabis market: After conducting initial trials, the company in 2004 undertook a major study on cannabis and flax for DEFRA, the UK government department overseeing agriculture. As experts in crop production, sustainability, and agricultural supply chains, ADAS is well [PDR2]  positioned to support the aims and objectives of GLOBALG.A.P.

The completed project will allow GLOBALG.A.P. to gain an understanding of what the market would expect from a cannabis standard at the agricultural level, enabling GLOBALG.A.P. to design an industry-leading relevant standard.

GLOBALG.A.P. selected ADAS because of the independence and objectivity of ADAS with respect to cannabis issues. As a well-known company in agriculture, ADAS has always been trusted to be impartial in advice to the agriculture sector, and it is driven by a need to provide high-quality science-based analysis free from bias. At this still relatively early stage in the development of the cannabis market, ADAS will be able to share with GLOBALG.A.P. the results of the project, offering market perspectives from a wide range of stakeholders across key potential countries that could benefit from a potential future standard.

Dr. Colin Morgan, Business Development Director at ADAS, said: “We were delighted to be selected by GLOBALG.A.P., who are a well-respected organization in the development and ownership of standards, to deliver a project that requires an independent mindset and knowledge of agriculture and standards in the rapidly expanding cannabis sector. The cannabis sector is both fascinating and confusing and everyone in the sector is learning every day. Even the word cannabis is used interchangeably with terms such as hemp, and we wanted to bring clarity to an area of analysis that could contribute to the further development of standards in the sector and that could drive trust and further confidence in the entire cannabis value chain across a range of applications. In the UK, we have seen, for instance, a massive increase in the use of CBD, but consumers are not always clearly aware of origins, traceability, and production methods of the products they are consuming. But standards such as those from GLOBALG.A.P. could be used by the cannabis value chain to support trust-building if that is what the market is looking for. At ADAS, we can bring our extensive connections to a range of cannabis value chains to the research so that we are able to provide GLOBALG.A.P., with further fundamental insights into the views of the sector.”

Kristian Moeller, C.E.O. of GLOBALG.A.P., explained that “GLOBALG.A.P. currently allows certification of low-THC hemp under the Integrated Farm Assurance standard. Restrictions apply to hemp grown for medicinal and recreational use. We are receiving an increasing number of inquiries about expanding our scope to allow certification of legally grown cannabis regardless of THC content and/or end use. In the summer of 2019, GLOBALG.A.P. sought input from stakeholders on the market need for this scope expansion and on the associated risks. We received a large and positive response in this public comment process. We are pleased to be working with ADAS to dig deeper into market needs, particularly in countries with robust legal and regulatory framework for cannabis production. Their input will guide our next steps for a potential cannabis standard.”< /p>  


GLOBALG.A.P. is a leading global certification program whose mission is to bring farmers and retailers together to produce and market safe food, protect scarce resources, and build a sustainable future.


Claudia Meifert   
Public Relations  
T: +49 (0) 221-57776-997


About ADAS

ADAS is the UK’s largest independent agricultural and environmental consultancy and provider of rural development and policy advice aimed at the two major issues of our time: securing food supply and enhancing the environment. Providing rural development, policy advice, consultancy services to a wide range of organizations in both the private and public sectors. ADAS’s work ranges from specific advice through strategic advice, policy advice, and applied R&D to applied/strategic R&D.

We are independent of, but fully understand government and commercial needs. Our expertise is based on evidence, underpinned by science, with core disciplines focused on balancing profitable production with minimum environmental impact, reducing waste, water, and energy use to ensure future sustainability.

ADAS has delivered research and consultancy services to Government, corporate organizations, and farmers on a commercial basis since it became an Executive Agency of MAFF in 1992. Prior to 1992, it was an integral part of MAFF, delivering free services to farmers, providing policy advice to the Department, and undertaking research on both production and environmental topics.