Changes in laws provide boost to hemp growers
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.
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.