Barrie, Ontario — Ask Hempola Inc president Greg Herriott what he thinks of last week’s huge marijuana bust in Barrie and he rolls his eyes and states, “we now spend half our daily conversations explaining to customers and people we had nothing to do with it! Mind you, most of these people know there is no connection. They’re long term customers… it’s been a real joke topic, but it sure has raised the awareness level for us; almost as much notice as our involvement last year with the American Music Awards. We’ve had calls and emails from all over North America and they keep coming in.”
The fact is Hempola has been growing industrial hemp (cannabis) crops at its farm at the north end of Barrie for the past four years, as well as contracting with other farmers to grow hemp from all over Canada. “Hemp plants look almost identical to marijuana but it’s grown outdoors, just like corn, wheat or any other food crop. Hempola grows hemp for its seeds. We squeeze incredibly nutritious oil and protein from these seeds. It’s the next boom crop for Canada, but it definitely will not get you high,” states Herriott. The psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, THC, has, for the most part, been removed from hemp products as well as the varieties of hemp plants approved to grow in Canada by Health Canada.
While the illicit cannabis trade has its issues, the industrial cannabis trade is thriving. There are several companies across Canada producing many different products from hemp. You see hemp food and personal care products in major stores like Loblaws and Zehrs in Canada and Wegmans in the U.S., as well as hundreds of natural products stores across North America. Hempola is now in its eleventh year of operation and has just launched two new products; their hemp version of now famous two-bite brownies and a pure organic protein with fibre sports supplement product. Mr. Herriott comments, “people just need to get their heads out of the pot smoke cloud and take the plant (cannabis) for what it’s worth — an incredible crop with huge potential and magnificent benefits to our environment and humanity.” The events and broad news coverage on the big pot bust in south Barrie may be exactly what Hempola and the rest of the hemp industry needs. “You know the expression, ‘no news is bad news.’ It has certainly applied with these current events,” says Herriott, “maybe we should re-name Hempola brownies to ‘Barrie’s Famous Hempola Brownies’.”
Copyright © 2004, Hempola. All rights reserved.