By Amandine Vachez
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No, their plants are not for smoking. We are not in a “beuh-cherie”, this case is completely legal. A little over a year ago, a northern family launched into the hemp production. Installed near Lillein a field that once hosted a rose gardenthe cooperative cultivates this ancestral plant to manufacture wellness products.
10,000m2 cultivation, in greenhouses and outdoors
Several large greenhouses stand on the plot of the hemp producing cooperative. A highly exploited sector in Europe for hundreds of years. A lot for textiles, and in particular in the past in France for boat sails and ropes, explains Thibault Devault, representative Agrican and Green Exchangewho are among the actors behind the cooperative.
For the grower from Dunkirk, embarking on this adventure seemed obvious. “I have always been passionate about this plant. And there’s so much to do with it! », Enthuses the father of the family, proud to have seen his son recently join him. ” The succession is assured ! »
What legal framework?
Of course, when we see hemp plants, we think of recreational cannabis, and the fluctuation of French law around this theme. To situate you, in France recently, the exploitation of all parts of the hemp plant is authorized, for the varieties of plants containing a maximum of 0.3% of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), one of the molecules contained in the cannabis.
“Here, we produce CBD for wellness products. Even if we are an SME, we respect very strict standards”, specifies Thibault Devault.
The very young start-up Tylio (2020), which offers products combining CBD and adaptogenic plants, makes products with harvests from northern production. “We are looking for quality”, emphasizes Antoine Alibert, its creator. For him, “made in France” and organic products are the key to offering products that meet consumer expectations. “On this type of product, if you take quality, there is a real effect. »
Various varieties for various properties
On these hemp cultivation lands, where organic fertilizer is used, several varieties are grown. Each has its own virtues and does not have the same sensitivity as another to temperature or light. It is therefore necessary to adapt the conditions for each one.
There are specimens that acclimate to the local climate, including the Kompolti, known for its high CBD content, or the Dioica, which produces beautiful flowers.
A large part is grown in greenhouses and another since this year outdoors. In the greenhouse, each plant has its own growth, even if the growers try to homogenize everything: “We try to reproduce an ecosystem favorable to the proper development of each plant. In greenhouses, we have more control over the environment, especially in winter,” explains Paul Bleuchot, a trained chemist specializing in cannabinoids and responsible for production and extraction (Agrican).
Three harvests per year
Currently five in number working on site, the team is set to grow. The reflection is on recruitment, in the coming months. Because it is a frantic pace that must be maintained, between the maintenance of the site, the monitoring of the plants, the harvest and the drying of the products.
A harvest is made about every three months, three times a year. Except for the outdoor part, which can only be done during the summer season. On site, the plants picked are then prepared (hash bar, loose leaves, flower balls, etc.) according to their next use and then dried.
“We have just installed a dryer,” announces Paul. This will allow drying to go from more than a week to less than 48-72 hours, in optimal conditions.
For the rest (extraction / distillation), it is done abroad. “During the processing of the product, you are illegal in France for a few minutes”, explains Paul. “Which prevents us from doing everything here. »
The SME hopes for a very soon evolution. “We are very late, in France, compared to other European countries,” says Paul. While, paradoxically, the country is the leading European producer of hemp and is one of the leading producers in the world.
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