Hemp Flower for Sale in Chile

HEMP flower for sale in Chile

The cultivation and use of industrial hemp, on the other hand, is legal in Chile. Purchasing,
using and consuming hemp oil is also legal.


In December 2015, Chilean President Michelle Brachelet signed a measure that removed
marijuana from a list of dangerous drugs, which allows medical patients to use cannabis freely
without having to face negative repercussions. The decree also authorized the sale of cannabis-
derived medicines at pharmacies. In October of 2014, Chile planted its first crop of medical
marijuana as part of a government-approved program.


One of the main issues since the late 1970s has been hemp’s similarity to the drug plant
marijuana!   Hemp cultivation is 100% legal as long as the intentions of the farmer are not
criminal.  The burden of proof lies with the cultivator.  Many hemp fields have been burned down
by overly anxious police officers, or upon suspicion that they contained not only hemp plants,
but also drug varieties.  They may have occasionally been right since a few hemp farmers
discovered that marijuana plants and hemp plants look essentially the same, and that they could
easily hide a few in their big hemp fields.  These farmers were thrown in jail, all of their hemp
fields were burned, and they are never allowed to grow hemp again.  Another problem is that
some people will steal anything resembling marijuana, even if they are drug-free varieties of low
value to the illicit smoker.  Those few remaining farmers willing to brave the economic factors
and political pressures began to protect their crops on a 24 hour basis in order to harvest before
losing their crop to thieves.  This protection occasionally involved encounters with armed
bandits who threatened farmers and their families.

Thus, present-day hemp production in Chile is serious business, and relies on the discreetlocation of the plantations, high security, and cooperation with the authorities.  Farmers hope that the marijuana smoker/thief will not be satisfied with low quality smoke and that hemp
plantations will no longer be subjected to such a pestilence.  The key lies in the detection and
development of essentially drug-free hemp varieties that cannot be stolen and then diverted to
the recreational smoker.  This will be the only way to grow hemp in Chile and expect to receive
the full support of the authorities.

In Chile, hemp has been an important industrial plant since the Spanish landed almost 500 years ago, and has found such a place in their culture that many Chileans have been surprised to learn that cañamo and marijuana come from related plants.  Many local farmers wonder how
a plant that once served for so much and be made into so many useful products for living and
working on the farm, could turn out to be of the same species as marijuana.  Debate exists in
Chile as to whether we should continue confusing legal hemp with it’s criminal cousin marijuana.
Chilean farmers recognize that there are industrial hemp varieties, and also there are
marijuana varieties, and that they are as different as night and day.  Chilean law still respects
this difference and there have always been provisions allowing for legal cultivation
of Cannabis as hemp.

In present-day Chile there are very few hemp farms, but there is a concentrated effort
preparing for a resurgence in hemp cultivation and new hemp industries are being developed.
Many of the recent developments have been in response to the international demand for hemp
prducts.  Much of the work is centered around assuring the propagation of acceptable non-drug
varieties and new product research and development.  Pristine natural climate, rich soils, and
long agricultural tradition make Chile a natural place for a resurgence in hemp cultivation.

Landraces and cultivars

Many landraces and cultivars of hemp have been grown in Chile.  Hemp “varieties” were
divided into four basic categories: fiber hemp, seed hemp, mixed hemp (fiber and seed) and
drug Cannabis, based on the products that were harvested.  Here is a partial list of these

Chinese hemp – This fiber hemp variety is also known as “the giant” because it reached
over 22 feet in height.   Even when planted closely, its stalks are thick and of tremendous
height.   Produces coarse fiber.

Italian hemp – This fiber hemp variety was experimented with for several years, and was found to be inferior to the common hemp land-race.  It yielded less fiber of no better quality.

Kentucky hemp – This fiber variety was imported from the USA.  It proved to be very quick
growing and could be harvested early.  However, it was never accepted because it was

considered inferior in yield compared to the common landrace.  In the extreme southern
regions, it was found to be the most productive, but seed production required a location much
farther to the north (more tropical).

Russian, Lithuanian, and Finnish hemp – These seed hemp varieties from cold climates are
short and characterized by fast growth, high seed yield and low fiber yield.

Common hemp – This mixed hemp variety was preferred by many Chilean farmers and
resulted from years of natural selection for local climatic conditions.  It is hardy, vigorous, very
productive and yields good quality fiber.

Turkish hemp – This mixed hemp variety is smaller than the Italian hemp, with dark leaves,
and very late flowering and appears to be from the same group as the Italian.

OYugoslavian hemp – This mixed hemp variety has a high percentage of fiber.

Cultivation and processing

In Chile, ideal areas for hemp farming include isolated and protected valleys or along the
banks of rivers and lakes.  Depending upon seed quality and cropping strategy, the following
quantities are sown.

Fiber production 60-300 kg/ha
Seed production 40-180 kg/ha
Mixed fiber and seed 40-250 kg/ha

Almost all Chilean hemp farmers produced fiber and seed at the same time, although many
realized that this was not the ideal method, since it produced fiber and seed each of less than
optimal yield and quality.   Nevertheless, it provided them with two products, and two sources of
income.   Dedicated plantings for fiber or seed production have been slow to catch on, even
though research indicates that dedicating your crop to either fiber or seed production is
economically better, since you can harvest higher quantities of better quality of either product.

Fiber production requires irrigation at least once a month and ample soil nitrogen.  Males
are removed as soon as they begin to flower, and are bundled separately, since they provide a
higher quality fiber, to be retted separately.  During seed production, preferred males of ideal
stature are selected and allowed to fertilize the females.  All other males are culled.  One select
male remains per 25m 2 .

In the past, harvesting was done as follows.   All the female plants were pulled up at a
point when the seed was well formed.   It was not advantageous to wait for the female plants to
mature completely because even though the seed yield increased, it drastically reduced the
yield of quality fiber by making it thicker, more brittle and unmanageable during processing.

To eliminate this problem, farmers waited for the grain to be well formed and begin its
ripening, and then at this precise moment they began to cut down the plants.  Many strongly
willed and muscled farmers did not cut the plants, but pulled them out of the ground 15 to 20
plants at a time through a brisk action of the hip.  These bundles of plants were then dropped on
the ground and left to finish drying for 3 to 5 days, and then collected and stacked into a type of
bale.   These bales were rounded up a few days later and stacked in a ‘capilla’ or church
shaped structure for final drying for another week or so.

First the seed was threshed by grabbing the dry plants by the base of the stalk, and
beating the seed bearing flowers against a clean piece of ground or tarpaulin.  In this way the
hemp seed is collected in one place for later cleaning and winnowing using screens, brushes
and wind.  In some cases threshers and seed cleaning machines have been used to automate
the process.

The harvesting of the seed, leaves behind the fiber-rich stalk ready for further processing
on it’s way to becoming finished hemp fiber.   Water retting has traditionally been preferred in
Chile.  The stalks are stacked in retting ponds and covered with stones.  Then the ponds are
filled with water to immerse the stalks.  Retting ponds are usually about one to two meters deep,
and as long and wide as needed for the quantity of stalks processed at any one time.   Stalks
remain in this retting pond for a period of 8 to 10 days in the summer, and 12 to 18 days during
the winter, during which they complete the retting process.  As the stalks begin to ferment, the
water becomes putrefied.  If it was to be directly released into rivers and lakes, it could cause
injury to the animals and people who drink water from these sources.  Chilean Law # 3133
prohibits the retting of hemp in stagnant waters for this very reason.  The Law of Fishing also
prohibits the release of this effluent into rivers and lakes.  Thus careful attention must be paid to
the disposal of the retting effluent.

Before the invention of the hemp breaking machine, hemp fiber decorticating was an
incredibly laborious task often performed by slave or indentured labor.  More recently,
mechanical and automated hemp breakers have revolutionized this industry and at one time
several automated breakers were in operation.  One of the best was the Ferriani decorticator
and comber which rapidly delivered finished combed fiber ready for industry.

Hemp cultivation is very good for the soil because it controls weeds and aerates the soil.
However, hemp is a heavy feeder and depletes soil nutrients, especially nitrogen.  Chilean
farmers have long recognized that crop rotations with nitrogen-fixing legumes restores the
nutrient balance of the soil.

Chilean hemp deserves to be preserved so that small farmers can continue to have this
additional source of income, and access to its various products for use on the farm.  Hemp
could help provide alternatives to the paper and logging industries, so that native trees may be
spared.  Chilean hemp has been given another chance.  The process of re-establishing the crop
may be a slow one, but hemp will make its resurgence to the fertile fields of Chile.