Canadian farmers have the federal government’s permission to grow hemp this year, but they’d best be careful. The fibrous plant, long used for making rope and more recently touted as an alternative to wood for making particleboard, is perhaps better known as marijuana. Its cultivation has been illegal in Canada since 1938.
To keep their crops legal, Canadians will have to restrict hemp’s content of psychoactive drug THC to no more than 0.3%.
Allan Rock, Canada’s health minister, announced the new rules on March 13. He said the regulations will allow commercial cultivation of industrial hemp. Health Canada will issue licenses, permits and authorizations to control activities under the new Industrial Hemp Regulations.
“Importers, exporters, distributors, growers and processors will be required to apply for and maintain a license or permit to carry out any activities authorized under the regulations,” the new rules state. “This level of control is necessary to prevent the diversion of cannabis to the illicit drug market.”
Industrial hemp belongs to the family of plants known as cannabis, which includes marijuana or hashish. The industrial version contains only a small quantity of the psychoactive ingredient THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. Canadian farmers have been seeking permission to cultivate industrial hemp for its value in producing paper, textiles, construction material, food, rope, twine, plastics and fuel.
Rock said, “For the first time in 60 years, Canadian farmers who meet the required provisions can now plan to grow hemp this spring. This new crop has a tremendous potential for creating new jobs in agriculture, industry, research and retail.”
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