News Release: 12/09/2017
For Release: September 12, 2017
Hemp Exemption Needed from Federal Cannabis Legislation to Save Jobs
As the federal government advances Bill C-45 for the legalization of cannabis, we at the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA) must raise our concerns about the unintended negative consequences of the proposed legislation on the rapidly growing Canadian hemp industry.
The CHTA is a not-for-profit organization which represents over 260 growers from across Canada as well as numerous processors, distributors, developers and researchers involved in Canada’s rapidly growing industrial hemp industry.
Canada is currently a world leader for the supply of hemp grain products to the global food industry. Exports in 2016 surpassed $145 million from an industry that employs over 1,200 Canadians. This industry is already regulated through the Industrial Hemp Regulations, which is administered by Health Canada. Hemp growers and processors are licensed every year by the federal government.
Hemp is often confused with marijuana as both come from the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. Hemp is a safe crop to grow and consume, evidenced by the fact that there are already 29 varieties of industrial hemp confirmed to have no more than 0.3% THC, the psychotropic component of cannabis. In the past 19 years, there have been no documented instances of public safety risk or criminal activity associated with hemp cultivation, storage, processing and distribution.
Bill C-45 places significant responsibility for regulating the production, storage, handling and distribution of all cannabis on the provinces and municipalities. It does not differentiate between hemp, cannabis and marijuana. According to Keith Jones, General Manager of Rowland Farms, “We are very concerned that confusion around this proposed legislation will hurt the Canadian hemp industry. Hemp is an important crop for us, and we are worried Bill C-45 will seriously harm our business and risk the jobs created at our farm.”
Russ Crawford, President of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, stated “Hemp is distinctly different from other types of cannabis. We have asked the federal government to include hemp whole plants and plant parts in the exempted products listed in Schedule 2 of Bill C-45, thereby exempting it from the regulatory requirements outlined in Bill C-45. Given hemp’s track record of safety, it is also time to carve out industrial hemp from the definition of Cannabis in Schedule II of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.”
The federal government’s Cannabis Task Force, in its report released December 16, 2016, recommended a lighter regime to regulate the industrial hemp industry. With a modernized regulatory regime, the agricultural hemp industry is poised to grow to $1 billion in sales, creating an additional 2,000 new jobs over the next six years.
For more information, contact:
Russ Crawford, President, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance
Kim Shukla, Executive Director, Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance