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USDA’s Canada Hemp Industry Report Demonstrates Regulatory Hurdles

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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently published a report containing the agency’s assessment of Canada’s hemp industry. The report illustrates ongoing regulatory hurdles that hemp farmers are facing in Canada, some of which are similar hurdles that hemp farmers are experiencing in the U.S and others being unique.

Federal legislation in Canada resulted in the re-introduction of hemp cultivation in 1998. Canada’s current hemp laws come from the 2018 Cannabis Act. According to the report, 77,800 acres of industrial hemp were planted in Canada in 2018. To put that figure into perspective, 78,176 were planted in the U.S. in the same year.

Major takeaways from the USDA report about Canada’s hemp industry include:

  • Hemp varieties will continue to be strictly controlled by the federal government and producers may only plant varieties from the official List of Approved Cultivars
  • Producers are not allowed to keep hemp seeds for planting, and every growing season producers must purchase government certified seeds
  • High-CBD varieties have yet to be registered for use in Canada
  • All cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC, are regulated in the same way
  • Currently, the sale of natural health products (NHPs) containing any cannabinoid (including CBD) in Canada is prohibited

As you can see from the list above, Canada’s hemp regulations are not as favorable in some ways compared to the United States. As such, the CBD-industry in the United States is creating better opportunities than in Canada.

That is reflected in the exponential growth found in the data for hemp acres planted in the United States this year. As previously mentioned, last year 78,176 acres of hemp were planted in the U.S. In 2019, Oregon farmers alone have planted over 50,000 acres. Other U.S. states are experiencing similar growth.

Hopefully, Canadian regulators and lawmakers pass measures soon to improve the parameters which hemp farmers and entrepreneurs are bound by. CBD is in huge demand right now and that demand is increasing with every passing day. Hemp is an agricultural crop and should be regulated accordingly in Canada, and everywhere else.


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