Hemp is a crop regulated by Health Canada and producers are required to follow key guidelines and regulations as set out in the Industrial Hemp Regulations (IHR). While there is no deadline for license applications, it is recommended that you apply well before May 1st so that your planting is not delayed by a last minute licensing rush.
You will need to fill out an Industrial Hemp Licence Application. Please see Health Canada’s Industrial Hemp Licensing Application Guide for licence requirements. An industrial hemp license is required to undertake most commercial activities associated with the growing, selling, import/export, cleaning and processing of hemp seed, grain, fibre and chaff (flowers, leaves and stems). Operators who plan on processing, transporting or possessing industrial hemp may also be required to acquire a hemp license as well.
Once hemp fibre is removed from the field, no license is needed. Seed, once processed into an edible or consumable product and so rendered non viable, does not require a license.
Applications must be submitted on-line through Health Canada’s Cannabis Tracking and Licensing System (CTLS). If you have questions about the Industrial Hemp Regulations or the application process, you can contact Health Canada using the info below:
Mail: Industrial Hemp Unit AL 0300A
150 Tunney’s Pasture Driveway
Ottawa, ON K1R 0K9
Field sampling and testing for THC content is only required for cultivation for seed and plant breeding. Commercial hemp producers planting registered cultivars are not required to test plants for THC during the growing season.
Hemp grain (capable of germination) can only be sold by producers to licensed hemp buyers (processors, dealers or exporters). It is highly advisable for hemp producers to complete a purchase contract with a client prior to seeding. As hemp seed is not currently registered as a livestock feed, there are limited options to sell production that is not covered by a contract.
Hemp chaff (flowers, leaves and stems) can only be sold by producers to Licensed cultivators, processors and sellers of cannabis under the Cannabis Act (LPs). Only these license holders are allowed to extract and sell cannabinoids (i.e. CBD) derived from the hemp plant. Further, hemp-derived cannabinoids can be sold by LPs within Canada’s regulated cannabis markets. Limited opportunities exist for LPs to export hemp-derived CBD to internationally recognized medical marijuana and research programs.