Before being released in Canada, hemp cultivars go through an approval process very different from other crops. Unlike wheat or canola, for example, lines are not required to undergo a certain amount of trialing in Canada before they can be grown here.
That’s not to say there aren’t processes in place to vet cultivars before they are released to farmers. As Mike Scheffel, of the Canadian Seed Growers Association, explains, there are still standards in place to verify purity and performance of different lines.
(Check out the 1:25 mark for full geeking out over Form 300 and Circular 6 and some other paperwork details that only seed people really want to know about, including some modernization of those forms and process for hemp.)
What it means is that the list of cultivars available for farmers should expand in the next few years, as there has been a “flurry of activity” in the U.S. on new lines — specifically those with higher CBD oil content.
But while there is hemp development happening elsewhere, there are still significant differences between Canadian and U.S. production and rules and regulations, meaning the three-year timeframe many are counting on is more a guideline than a set process.
Scheffel says that Health Canada is in the process of reviewing and revising the approval process of making sure that the lines fall within the parameters and restrictions to be grown in Canada. However, he adds that we’re not yet at a point where we can easily approve hybrids or feminized hemp seed lines in Canada.
Listen on to Mike Scheffel and Shaun Haney’s discussion recorded at the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance conference: