Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hemp industry renews request for deregulation

By Robert Arnason
Source: producer.com

Canada’s hemp industry is asking, once again, for the federal government to ease regulations for industrial hemp production.
The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA), which represents companies and producers in the hemp business, said this morning that hemp has been grown in Canada for nearly two decades with no health or safety concerns. Therefore, it’s time to move forward and treat hemp like any other crop.
“The hemp industry is in jeopardy from rapid developments in other countries, particularly the United States,” said Russ Crawford, CHTA president. “Canadian farmers and entrepreneurs stand to lose significant market opportunities. Today, the U.S.A. is the largest market for Canada’s hemp products. However, that market is catching and passing us and Canada stands to lose its market position.”
Health Canada regulates hemp production in Canada, partly to monitor THC content in industrial hemp. Consequently, producers must apply for a licence and get permission to grow the crop. The CHTA said that system is “antiquated,” causes huge delays and is now unnecessary.
“We have proven that varieties that have been registered, they are useless for smoking,” said Jan Slaski, hemp researcher with Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, last summer at field day near Lethbridge.
“They are harmless, in a sense, so that’s why we are trying to move these regulations around industrial hemp from Health Canada to Agriculture Canada. We want hemp to be as any other crop grown in the country, and industrial hemp deserves it.”
The CHTA said it has been lobbying the federal government for regulatory change since 2009. After seven years, hemp industry leaders are frustrated and sick of waiting.
“At the time of development of the regulations, there was little information available on the potential risks of the crop. It was designated as a controlled substance and treated similarly to heroin and cocaine,” said Kevin Greenwood, CHTA vice-president. “Today we know hemp is not only a safe food for consumers but, in fact, a unique source of nutrition and potential health benefits.”
The CHTA has sent documents to Health Minister Jane Philpott, asking the federal government to “liberate” the hemp industry as quickly as possible.

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