Over 200 producers, processors and leading hemp experts from Canada and aroudn the world met in Calgary this week to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing Canada’s hemp sector. Central to the discussion was the fact that the industry cannot utilize the whole hemp plant. As a result Canadian hemp farmers are missing out on a potential billion dollar market opportunity.
The culprit in this injustice is ancient regulatory controls on the hemp plant. Hemp contains very low levels of the psychoactive ingredient THC (delta 9) while on the other hand it can contain significant levels of other beneficial cannabinoids such as CBD.
Cannabinoids, one in particular CBD is a phytochemical that has been found, through sound scientific research, to have beneficial health impacts. Due to regulatory restrictions Canadian farmers cannot harvest the plant parts that contain this phytochemical. At present it is discarded in the chaff of the plant during harvest.
Dr. Steve Laviolette, University of Western Ontario states, ’Cannabidiol may serve as an effective treatment for devastating psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, emerging evident is revealing potential benefits of cannabidiol for the treatment of epilepsy.’ Findings from Dr. Laviolette’s research team have been published in many of the to neuroscience and psychiatry research journals in the world and have been covered in national and international press releases.
The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) is heightening its efforts to push for regulatory reform. Russ Crawford, CHTA President states,’The lost opportunity for Canadian farmers to extract value form a portion of their crop that is currently off limits due to regulatory controls is an injustice to them. Hemp presents Canadian farmers with an important crop offering both diversity and exceptional profit potential as a food, fibre and health resource. There is an enormous opportunity to develop strong processing and value added industries associated with the production of hemp. The United States, our largest export customer, is moving rapidly towards deregulation and the production and processin of hemp. As an industry association it is our role to ensure Canada retains its 15 years advantage in hemp production and export dominance.’
The membership of CHTA voted unanimously in favour of promoting the health and safety of hemp by requesting immediate action from the Liberal government.
CHTA, established in 2003, is the national organization representing hemp growers and processors.
Kim Shukla, P.Ag.
The programme for the 13th Annual Hemp Convention is nearly completed. Take a look at the programme and you won’t want to miss it. Register now and save!
Interest in hemp is high but the acres will remain 2015 - Robert Arnason - Western Producer