Canada: Group Urges Federal Government to Ease Restrictions on Growing Hemp

February 17, 2011 – Prompted by a Renfrew Cty. hemp producer, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture has taken notice of heightened interest in the controversial plant and wants the federal government to relax its vice-like grip on production.

With that in mind, the OFA recently passed a resolution which it plans to bump upstairs to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture during that body’s annual meeting in Ottawa next week.

Reuben Stone, whose Valley Bio grew and marketed 245 acres of hemp last year, initiated the discussion as a director of the Renfrew federation. Stone said the National Farmers Union passed a similar resolution at its recent convention.

“Industrial hemp needs to be treated as a crop by the government and less like a drug,” Stone said, adding that “bureaucratic burdens” are limiting the growth of the industry, but doing little to achieve drug control of the close marijuana relative.

“Industrial hemp has the potential to offer a good rotation cash crop for Canada’s family farms for years to come, similar to the production of hemp in earlier Canadian history … 1606-1938,” the OFA resolution states, adding hemp fibre, seeds and byproducts have the potential to replace some of the country’s dependency on imported oils and to lower energy needs when used in making construction products and in auto manufacturing.

Noting that national hemp acreage expanded from 6,700 acres in 2003 to 20,000 last year and could soar to 50,000 acres in 2011 to meet increased demand, the resolution says current hemp regulations are outdated and are costing growers big dollars and lost time dealing with red tape.

The resolution calls for faster processing of license applications to grow hemp “so approval comes before seeding time,” urges research into hemp seed and calls for growers to be allowed to export the crop. It also calls for the elimination of field crop drug sampling of approved varieties, along with expedited research into making hemp seed products available as livestock feed.

The resolution also urges a faster transparent process for adding worthy hemp varieties to the approved list in order to avoid a shortage of seeds in certain areas, and it wants the industry to be given a voice at the table with Health Canada to review and recommend regulations with respect to hemp.

While the regulations are being debated, Stone and partner Marc Bercier of St. Isidore are hosting a series of information meetings seeking farmers to grow hemp on contract this season. The next one will be held March 4 beginning at 2 p.m. at Ridgewood Golf Club in Fournier. Source.


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