The Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Industrial Hemp Licensing

Industrial hemp or cannabis farm plantation

On April 17, Health Canada published the List of Approved Cultivars for the 2019 Growing Season. The List of Approved Cultivars sets out the industrial hemp varieties for commercial cultivation under license for the year 2019. Under the Industrial Hemp Regulations, industrial hemp is defined as a cannabis plant – or any part of the plant – in which the concentration of THC is 0.3% (weight by weight) or less in the flowering heads and leaves. A licence issued by Health Canada is required in order to conduct various activities with industrial hemp.

Here are our top 5 points on Industrial Hemp and the licensing process:

  1. It is important to note that not every activity that involves industrial hemp falls within the scope of the Industrial Hemp Regulations. For example, extraction of cannabidiol (CBD) or another phytocannabinoid from the flowering heads, leaves, and branches of hemp to produce CBD oil would fall under the Cannabis Regulations and would require a cannabis processing licence.
  2. Industrial hemp can be cultivated outdoors as either an alternative to or to complement your cannabis business (if cannabis cultivation is occurring indoors). During the application process, applicants must declare the address of the site where any industrial hemp that is cultivated will be stored. 3
  3. The application requirements for an Industrial Hemp Licence are more relaxed than a cannabis cultivation or processing licence. For example, an Industrial Hemp Licence application does not require items such as a floor plan, site plan/survey, good production practices report or security plans.
  4. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill in the United States, the rules around the importation of industrial hemp seed and grain to the United States have changed. There is confirmation that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is no longer issuing import permits to Canadian exporters for industrial hemp seed or grain. Until the US authorities clarify any new requirements, Canadian industrial hemp licence holders who are authorized for the activity of export may apply to Health Canada for an export permit to the United States without having to provide a corresponding import permit.
  5. The timeline for an Industrial Hemp Licence is much faster than that of a cannabis cultivation or processing licence. Health Canada commits to a non-binding service standard of 60 business days, for the issuance of a regulatory decision on an application for a new industrial hemp licence or a renewal, from the date that the application is deemed complete by the department to the date a decision is issued to the applicant.

How we can help you

Cannabis License Experts offers end-to-beyond license solutions for cannabis and hemp businesses to meet federal or provincial regulations.  Contact us today to determine whether an industrial hemp licence is the appropriate licence for your proposed activities.


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