Industrial hemp includes cannabis plants, and parts of the plant, of any variety, that contains 0.3 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or less in the leaves and flowering heads. While it cannot contain more than 0.3 per cent THC, there is no limit to the amount of cannabidiol (CBD) that may be contained in industrial hemp plants.
Industrial hemp also includes the derivatives of industrial hemp plants and plant parts (not including the flowering parts or the leaves). In Canada, industrial hemp is regulated under the Industrial Hemp Regulations, which is a set of rules that fall under the Cannabis Act.
The Industrial Hemp Regulations establish a licensing scheme, as well as setting out a general control framework for most activities, such as its cultivation, production, and sale. An industrial hemp licence holder can cultivate hemp to produce a number of different products. For example, fibre from industrial hemp stalks can be used in making paper, textiles, rope or twine, and construction materials. Grain from industrial hemp can be used in food products, cosmetics, plastics and fuel. Additionally, licence holders may cultivate hemp and then sell non-viable seeds, or hemp seed derivatives, for use in food, cosmetics, etc. Non-viable hemp seeds and hemp seed derivatives (like hemp seed oil) that contain no more than 10 ug/g THC after testing (also sometimes expressed as no more than 10 parts per million, or 10 ppm) are exempt from the Cannabis Act.
A hemp producer is also able to cultivate hemp for the flowering heads, branches, and leaves, which may contain CBD. However, it’s important to note that not every activity involving industrial hemp will fall within the scope of the Industrial Hemp Regulations. A good example is the extraction of CBD or another phytocannabinoid from the flowering heads, leaves, and branches of the plant. This would fall under the Cannabis Regulations and would require a cannabis processing licence. Alternatively, industrial hemp licence holders can choose to sell the flowering heads, branches and leaves they cultivate to a cannabis processor licensed under the Cannabis Regulations, who may then extract the CBD under their licence.
In addition to the requirements of the Cannabis Act, you may be subject to other legal requirements, depending on the activities you plan to conduct with hemp. For example, activities of seed production, importation of seed, preparation (conditioning) of seed, and plant breeding/propagation have additional requirements that must be fulfilled under the Seeds Regulations:
- Seed production: must be a member of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association and adhere to their requirements for pedigreed seed production.
- Seed importation: the establishment at which seed will be imported to has a valid Certification of Registration as an Authorized Importer issued under Part IV of the Seeds Regulations.
- Seed preparation (conditioning): establishment at which the conditioning of seed will take place has a valid Certification of Registration as an Approved Conditioner issued under Part IV of the Seeds Regulations.
- Plant breeding/propagation: must be recognized by the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association as a plant breeder.
So, there you have it – everything you need to know about industrial hemp in Canada!
Remember, anyone wishing to cultivate industrial hemp is required to obtain a licence from Health Canada. Contact us today to discover how we can license and legalize your industrial hemp business to meet federal or provincial regulations.
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