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Last Minute: Another hemp farmer arrested today in Sertã

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Pawel Soyer on his land in Sertã - Photo: DR

This morning, the National Republican Guard (GNR) detained another hemp farmer, this time in Santo António do Marmeleiro, in Sertã, Castelo Branco district. Cannareporter has learned that this is Pawel Szopa, a farmer associated with the CannaCasa and a member of the Lusicanna industrial hemp cooperative. 

A source who preferred not to be identified also told Cannareporter that, shortly before the GNR arrived at the scene, Pawel received an email from DGAV – General Directorate of Food and Veterinary Medicine, rejecting his request for hemp cultivation.

Hemp farmers demonstrated in front of DGAV in 2019. Pawel is third from the left. Hugo Monteiro is the last. Photo: Laura Ramos | cannareporter

similar to Hugo Monteiro, arrested two weeks ago, and Barry McCullough, arrested on 27 July, Pawel was also present at the Farmers' protests at DGAV in 2019.

Rádio Condestável, based in Cernache do Bonjardim, in Sertã, advanced this morning that the Santo António do Marmeleiro area “registered the presence of many authorities” and that “on several times, listeners from that area called Rádio Condestável trying to know what was going on. In view of this, we tried to obtain explanations for this unusual movement of law enforcement officers but so far (13:00) the GNR's Castelo Branco Territorial Command has not yet answered us to provide us with the necessary explanations.
A more attentive popular told us that this action may be related to drug seizure, a situation that we have not yet been able to ascertain or confirm, which we will try to do this afternoon”, reported the same radio.

Photo released by Pawel Soyer in 2020 on social media

Cannareporter tried to contact Castelo Branco's GNR, still without success, but it is monitoring this situation and will update the information as soon as possible.

The hemp sector has been struggling and several arrests have taken place this year, with several farmers and associations accusing the GNR and DGAV of blocking this culture in Portugal.

On the other hand, European Commission has recently launched a specific page for hemp industrial sector, noting that “hemp production offers ample opportunities for farmers, industrial sectors and consumers in the European Union”, in addition to its environmental benefits and its importance for sustainability.

Hemp cultivation in Europe has increased by 75% in recent years. Portugal is not included in the list of countries that are investing in this culture.

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