New rules in Canada

This summer, Health Canada called for proposals to review and modify the existing framework for industrial hemp regulations. The initial commentary period closed in September, but additional opportunity for comments will open in 2002.
The Canadian hemp industry’s main goals right now are very practical. The sense from coast-to-coast is that the hemp regulations could be made to work better. So companies are looking to streamline the regulatory process, reducing red-tape costs without sacrificing quality control.

For example, the Saskatchewan Hemp Association, which represents about two dozen companies and 50 farmers in western Canada, made recommendations that include expanding mandatory criminal record checks for growers from a one year to a five year period; allowing industrial and processing uses of leaves and flowers (currently prohibited), waiving mandatory THC testing for consistently performing varieties of hemp and allowing the sprouting of hempseed for food processing.

Growers in BC have requested that the acreage minimum be lowered. Currently, a minimum of 10 acres must be grown. The idea behind this rule was to head off “hippy science projects” in backyards. However, this requirement is prohibitive for the small farms in certain areas of BC, such as the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

Health Canada is also expected to advance some sort of cost-recovery scheme, which means charging farmers for the expense of setting up their bureaucratic hoops. There is speculation that Health Canada will also be looking to lower the allowable THC content in hemp foods and cosmetics, currently set at 10 parts per million or 0.0001%.

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? Arthur Hanks is the editor and publisher of The Hemp Report: tel 306-790-9305; fax 810-314-2138; email [email protected]; web