New Canada Hemp Regs Recommended

Legislative Review of the Cannabis Act: Final Report of the Expert Panel has been released. As it relates to hemp, here is what the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance has to say:

Where Hemp is Mentioned
The words “hemp” or “industrial hemp” appear 19 times in the 91-page final report of the Expert Panel.
Page 13: Recommendation 29 – Health Canada, in consultation with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, should establish and support an expert advisory body to conduct a timely review of the regulation of industrial hemp and make recommendations about the most appropriate regulatory framework.
Page 22: The federal framework – Under the Act, the Government of Canada is responsible for licensing various activities with respect to the production of cannabis (including industrial hemp), including cultivation, processing and testing, as well as associated activities, such as possession, distribution, sale
and research with cannabis.
Page 23: Protecting public safety – Prohibiting production, distribution and sale, unless authorized; Prohibiting distribution and sale to youth; Prohibiting import and export, with exceptions for licence holders with a permit and only for a scientific; or medical purpose (or in respect of industrial hemp)
Page 51: Reviewing the regulation of Industrial Hemp – Industrial hemp (that is, varieties of cannabis with 0.3% THC or less in their leaves and flowers) is also regulated under the Act. Representatives of the industrial hemp industry noted that while cannabis and hemp come from the same plant family, the
products that result from their cultivation are entirely different and carry very different risks. They told us that the industrial hemp industry in Canada has been negatively impacted by the legalization of cannabis, with less industrial hemp production and sales today than in 2017. They advocated for a new
approach to the regulation of industrial hemp that sees it treated as an agricultural commodity, with changes that would increase the maximum allowable limit of THC in industrial hemp and associated derivatives. The industry also raised other issues related to potential uses of industrial hemp (including industrial hemp-derived cannabinoids or biomass).
We did not have an opportunity to delve deeply into the regulation of industrial hemp, but we recognize this is a topic that deserves careful and detailed consideration.
Recommendation 29: Health Canada, in consultation with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, should establish and support an expert advisory body to conduct a timely review of the regulation of industrial hemp and make recommendations about the most appropriate regulatory framework.
Page 52: Supporting a diverse legal cannabis industry – Health Canada should develop a specialized program for applicants from under-represented communities that provides pre- and post-licensing supports. This should include information about opportunities other than cultivation and processing
licences, such as licences for industrial hemp and analytical testing. Acknowledging the submission by the Competition Bureau entitled Planting the seeds for competition: Competition Bureau submission to Health Canada and the Expert Panel to support the Cannabis Act legislative review, which dealt with this issue, we believe that Health Canada should consider whether the requirement that applicants for licences have a pre-built site could be eliminated for equity-deserving and small business applicants.
Page 55: Improving the monitoring of environmental impacts – Although the environmental impact of cannabis was not raised often during engagement, some participants highlighted concerns about cannabis product packaging. They raised issues about single-use plastic packaging and the limited use of
packaging composed of cannabis and industrial hemp plant by-products. We also heard about the high rates of energy required for indoor cultivation. Some stakeholders discussed innovative approaches to reducing the environmental footprint of cannabis cultivation, such as the use of organic and regenerative
farming practices, using cannabis as a bio-accumulator to help remediate the soil, making use of solar energy and the secondary use of cannabis by-product waste.
Recommendation 36: The Government of Canada should establish indicators related to the environmental impacts of the cannabis industry, collect baseline data and continue to monitor these indicators and their trends. The Government of Canada should publish this information in a timely manner to allow the public to monitor progress.

The Canadian hemp industry requires specific regulatory relief to move forward

  1. Moving all produce- and processor-facing hemp regulatory oversight and operations from Health Canada to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada;
  2. Move hemp the List of Approved Cultivar (LOAC) registration process from Health Canada to the Canadian Seed Growers Association;
  3. Replacing expense and unnecessary 100% THC testing of all hemp food lots with statistically valid sampling for monitoring purposes;
  4. Establishing Maximum Residue Levels for hemp flowers and leaves sold to licensed cannabis processors for the purpose of extracting concentrated and isolated cannabinoids;
  5. Clarifying several regulatory issues that have arisen from Health Canada’s confusion between adult use/medical Cannabis and hemp, including at least:
    a. natural background cannabinoid levels in hemp foods are: natural constituents; not contaminants; and not restricted by Health Canada’s prescription drug regulations;
    b. hemp-derived products that do not contain concentrated or isolated cannabinoids are not subject to cannabis restrictions (i.e. mixing with other food or natural health product ingredients);
    c. there are no maximum regulated non-THC cannabinoid concentrations for any hemp derived product that has not been supplemented with concentrated or isolated cannabinoids; and,
    d. processed hemp products with detectable levels of non-THC cannabinoids (i.e. natural background levels of CBD) can be sold in domestic and international markets without restriction;
  6. Increasing the maximum allowable THC in the flowers and leaves in hemp inflorescence from 0.3% to 1.0%;
  7. Increasing the maximum allowable THC content in hemp foods from 10pmm to 50ppm in hempseed oil and 20 ppm in all other hemp foods; [note: USA is 3,000 ppm]
  8. Allowing tissue culture propagation of hemp from LOAC-compliant parent plants;
  9. Exempting all hemp products – except for flowers and leaves sold to licensed cannabis processors – from the Cannabis Act.”

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