Hemp growers receive green light to harvest whole plant

By Nigel Maxwell
August 19, 2018 - 12:10pm

A great opportunity for Canadian hemp growers is how the President of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance described Health Canada's announcement that makes it legal for all parts of the hemp plant to now be harvested. 

Health Canada’s revision of Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) allows hemp farmers to immediately collect and store industrial hemp flower, bud and leaf material. This material will be available for sale and research activities after the scheduled implementation of the Cannabis Act on Oct. 17, 2018.

Russ Crawford said this should allow for significant new revenue for harvesters.

"They now have the ability to capture some of the ingredients and some of the value we are currently leaving on the ground," he said.  "They're not allowed to sell it or process it in any way, they are simply going to be able to harvest, start some drying techniques, learn a little bit about storage and capture some knowledge."

Crawford said research will be very important in the coming months, adding there are many questions surrounding best practices for drying and extraction techniques, as well as storage. Much like wheat, hemp material needs to be stored in low moisture environments.

"The risks you run with a plant material, of course, are that you get some micro-activity that creates molds and mildews or things that render it useless," he said. "The quality of this product has to be absolute."

Saskatchewan led the way last year for the provinces with the highest number of industrial hemp licenses and registrations at 518. The province also boasted the most hectarage for the cultivation of industrial hemp at 22,654.41. Crawford said it’s possible this week's announcement from Health Canada could drive more drive more farmers to the industry, but he added farmers must exercise caution.

"I think the one thing to caution everyone on is to make sure you have a buyer for your product before you start planting and processing because it is a new crop and it would be high risk to do that without a contract in place," Crawford said.



On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell

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