INDUSTRIAL HEMP LICENSING AND REGULATIONS

What is "production" of industrial hemp?

Cultivating, propagating and/or harvesting industrial hemp are included in production.

Industrial hemp production includes obtaining industrial hemp - e.g. viable grain or seed or their derivatives - by any method or process, including manufacturing or using any means to change the chemical or physical properties of industrial hemp and including also cultivating, propagating or harvesting industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp production is an activity that is authorized by a licence issued under the IHR, subject to the terms of the licence and to the regulations.

However, it is important to note that the production of derivatives or products made from whole industrial hemp plants, including sprouts, or the leaves, flowers or bracts of those plants, cannot be authorized by a licence issued under the IHR. Most activities with whole industrial hemp plants, including sprouts, or with the leaves, flowers or bracts of the plant, fall outside of the application of the IHR. These activities are controlled under the CDSA and are not authorized under the IHR.

What is the Industrial Hemp Regulation Program?

The Industrial Hemp Regulation Program permits Canadian farmers to grow low-TCH cannabis for industrial use, under controlled circumstances. This program administers the regulatory approval process for the commercial production of industrial hemp. It is comprised of a system of licences, permits and authorizations for all persons in Canada engaged in the cultivation, distribution, importation, exportation, and processing of industrial hemp. The program started on March 12, 1998, when the Industrial Hemp Regulations came into effect.

How do I get a license?

For cultivators, it is recommended that you submit your application for a cultivation licence 5 to 6 months prior to the growing season. You may apply for a licence as early as mid-November for the next growing season. You can obtain license applications by submitting a request to the Industrial Hemp Regulation Program at hemp@hc-sc.gc.ca.

Your completed application can either be emailed to hemp@hc-sc.gc.ca or mailed to:

Office of Controlled Substances
Industrial Hemp Regulations Program
161 Goldenrod Drwy
AL 0300B
Ottawa ON K1A 0K9
 

Licenses are valid for the calendar year for which they are issued and continue to be valid until March 31 of the following year.


What documents do I need to include with my application?

To help ensure that applications are processed in a timely manner, please ensure that all of the required information is provided. You must include the following documents and information:

  • Original police criminal record check(s)

  • Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates (for those cultivating)

  • Original signatures on all documents

  • Appropriate schedules with the industrial hemp licence application

  • All supporting documents (from the Canadian Seed Growers' Association or Canadian Food Inspection Agency if required).

What is the relationship between the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and the Industrial Hemp Regulations (IHR)?

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) prohibits certain activities with controlled substances. Regulations under the CDSA, such as the Industrial Hemp Regulations (IHR), authorize certain activities with specific controlled substances.

More specifically, Cannabis is a controlled substance under the CDSA. Possession, trafficking, import, export and production of all varieties of Cannabis regardless of the tetrahydrocannabinol (tetrahydro-6,6,9-trimethyl-3-pentyl-6H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-1-ol) content are prohibited unless authorized according to regulations or an exemption. The Industrial Hemp Regulations enable persons/companies to cultivate and process industrial hemp for commercial purposes through a licensing system.

Can I only cultivate industrial hemp from pedigreed status seeds?

Yes. Since 2000, Section 14 (3) of the Industrial Hemp Regulations states: "On and after January 1, 2000, an approved cultivar referred to in subsection (1) must be of a pedigreed status, as defined in subsection 2(2) of the Seeds Regulations."

Pedigreed status means seed that is of foundation status, registered status, or certified status that is approved by the Canadian Seed Growers' Association (CSGA) and was produced in Canada or elsewhere. Seed that is not produced in Canada must meet the standards for varietal purity established by an official certifying agency and be approved by the CSGA.

The Seeds Act states that imported seed must be recognized by the Canadian Seed Growers Association as being of pedigreed status. CSGA does recognize the status of seed originating from the OECD seed scheme. The classification of pedigreed status under the OECD scheme is different (Pre-Basic, Basic, Certified), but equivalent.

For more information on the Industrial Hemp Regulation Program, please visit: