New rules allow for whole-plant hemp harvest

Hemp fibre in bales. Photo: Valley Bio Ltd.

Until now, hemp growers in Canada were allowed only to harvest the grain and/or stalk of the plant. In anticipation of the upcoming Cannabis Act set to be implemented in mid-October, Health Canada recently announced a revision to regulations allowing whole-plant harvest of hemp.

Why does this matter? Well, although industrial hemp has low levels of THC and cannabinoid products, such as CBD, plant parts are not completely free of cannabinoid oils. If you were to take leaves, flowers or buds, and bracts of hemp plants and concentrate all the oil found within them you could end up with what is, until October, a controlled substance.

The regulatory exemption is good news to hemp growers and the hemp industry, as Keanan Stone, general manager of Valley Bio Ltd., explains in the interview below. Being able to harvest — and eventually sell — other parts of the hemp plant could mean a lucrative second or even third revenue stream for hemp growers. (Story continues below)

While the act legalizing cannabis does not come into effect until October, this regulatory change allows hemp growers to at least harvest plant parts and store them. “They would yet be able to sell them to a processor,” Stone says. However, once the new act comes into force, growers will be able to apply for certain changes to their licensing to allow sale of these parts to a processor.

There’s still much to learn about harvest, storage, and processing of the hemp plant, as well, Stone says this is a promising first step towards adding revenue to the towering crop.

 

Lyndsey Smith

Lyndsey Smith is a field editor for RealAgriculture. A self-proclaimed agnerd, Lyndsey is passionate about all things farming but is especially thrilled by agronomy and livestock production.

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