Changes in laws pro­vide boost to hemp grow­ers

Tillsonburg News - - NATIONAL NEWS - DAVID GOUGH Net­work

The le­gal­iza­tion of cannabis in Canada has given grow­ers a bit of a boost, as new reg­u­la­tions are pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the busi­ness to even­tu­ally meet its goal of be­com­ing a bil­lion-dol­lar in­dus­try.

Hemp grow­ers reuben and Keanan stone spoke about what the le­gal­iza­tion of cannabis means for the hemp in­dus­try in Canada at the southwest agri­cul­ture Con­fer­ence held at the ridgetown cam­pus of the univer­sity of guelph on Jan. 4.

The stones said there has been a re­newed in­ter­est in the crop and new op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand hemp acreage in Canada,

They op­er­ate stone Farms, a 1,000-acre pedi­gree seed and cash crop farm, as well as Val­ley bio ltd., a reg­is­tered seed es­tab­lish­ment, and uniseeds inc., an in­dus­trial hemp breed­ing and seed mar­ket­ing busi­ness lo­cated in Cob­den, about an hour west of ot­tawa

The new cannabis laws have af­fected the hemp in­dus­try with new ex­emp­tions, amended reg­u­la­tions, as well as some sta­tus quo reg­u­la­tions, as the 1998 hemp reg­u­la­tions were lumped in with the re­cent cannabis changes.

“The big dif­fer­ence is that in­dus­trial hemp we have 35 reg­u­la­tions to deal with and on the cannabis side they have over 230 reg­u­la­tions that they have to con­tend with to be li­censed to pro­duce cannabis,” said Keanan stone.

among the new reg­u­la­tions is that hemp grow­ers no longer have to un­dergo a crim­i­nal check and put locks on their grain bins.

an­other change in Canada’s Cannabis act is that farm­ers with li­cences to grow in­dus­trial hemp are no longer banned from har­vest­ing any part of the crop ex­cept the seeds and stems. pre­vi­ously, the leaves, flow­ers and buds (the parts of the plant that con­tain Cbd) had to be left in the fields. That has pro­vided an op­por­tu­nity for Cana­dian hemp grow­ers. es­pe­cially as the gov­ern­ment is pos­si­bly look­ing at al­low­ing cannabis ed­i­bles and bev­er­ages this year.

Hemp is a va­ri­ety of cannabis that won’t get you high, as it con­tains vir­tu­ally no THC (the psy­choac­tive in­gre­di­ent in mar­i­juana), but it does con­tain Cbd, a non-in­tox­i­cat­ing cannabi­noid that was – un­til re­cently – il­le­gal with­out a med­i­cal pre­scrip­tion.

in 2017, 130,000 acres of hemp was grown in Canada. The hemp in­dus­try is val­ued at about $340 mil­lion, Keanan stone said, not­ing that hemp is still a niche crop.

she said if hemp is go­ing to be­come a bil­lion-dol­lar in­dus­try, the big­gest op­por­tu­ni­ties are in food, fi­bre, feed for an­i­mals and nat­u­ral health projects.

DAVID GOUGH/Post­media

Keanan and Reuben Stone spoke about what the re­cent cannabis law changes have meant for hemp grow­ers in Canada at the Southwest Agri­cul­ture Con­fer­ence held at the Ridgetown cam­pus of the Univer­sity of Guelph. The mar­ried cou­ple own a hemp farm, as well as a seed es­tab­lish­ment and an in­dus­trial hemp breed­ing and seed mar­ket­ing busi­ness.

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