Agriculture and Food Processing - Commodities: Special Crops

Industrial Hemp


About the Industry | Regulations | Versatility | Growing Curiosity | Contacts

The Manitoba AdvantageHemp Plants

The soil and climatic conditions unique to Manitoba make it a great location for industrial hemp production.

The long growing season, warm sunshine and adequate moisture levels characteristic of a Manitoba summer coupled with quality soil management practices provide ideal growing conditions for hemp.

This results in the strong potential for a healthy yield of quality hemp seed and fibre, and provides reason for Manitobans to be optimistic about the future of industrial hemp production.

About the Industry

In the 1920s, Agriculture Canada was involved in hemp research as part of a fibre crops program. During that time a small commercial hemp crop was grown in Manitoba and the fibre was used to produce cordage.

However, due to the economic factors of the Great Depression, acreage declined to zero by the mid-1930s, and due to its similarity to marijuana, hemp cultivation was banned in 1938 under Canada's federal narcotics regulations.

In 1994 several companies, universities and provincial governments resumed research into industrial hemp production and processing.

Largely due to these efforts, the 60-year ban was lifted in 1998 and the licensed commercial production of hemp in Canada was re-established.

In the year 2000, Manitoba producers harvested approximately 7200 acres of hemp and they are diligently working to into the emerging industrial hemp markets.

As well, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives and other researchers continue to conduct ongoing studies on the agronomics of hemp production in Manitoba. In 2001 and 2002, acres remained stable at 1500 acres each year.

Close-up of HempRegulations

The Industrial Hemp Regulations were introduced on March 12, 1998, to regulate the cultivation, processing, transportation, sale, import and export of industrial hemp in Canada. It should be noted that these regulations are strict.

However, they are crucial in order to protect the health and wellbeing of Canadians, to conform to Canada's international commitments against illegal drugs and to contribute to the production and export of safe food products.

These regulations ensure that Canadian industrial hemp contains THC (the psychoactive drug delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) levels of less than 0.3%, far below those levels found in marijuana.

Therefore, producers wishing to grow industrial hemp must apply for a growing license and can only grow those varieties approved by Health Canada.

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Versatility

The versatility of hemp is the main reason why many people are optimistic about its future. The sheer number of uses for the plant and its derivatives give it the strong potential to compete with substitutes in the marketplace.

There are an estimated 25,000 different hemp-related products and uses that could potentially be made available in categorical areas such as paper, cosmetics, clothing, carpeting, automotive and construction uses, agriculture, recycling and food/nutrition.

Currently, the majority of Manitoba's production is used for its seeds and oils, and Manitoba has several companies licensed to process, market and internationally export edible hemp products such as roasted or toasted seeds, hemp seed oil, hemp seed butter, and hemp seed flour.

While over the last two years the hemp stalks had been a secondary harvest, the focus is slowly shifting, and currently there are several companies are experimenting with hemp fibre products.

Hemp FieldGrowing Curiosity

Industrial hemp is an old crop re-entering the Manitoba marketplace.

However, North American consumers have a growing curiosity about hemp products as they realize that the nutritional assets of hemp are in tune with many of their new health preferences.

Thus, a North American market for hemp products is slowly developing.

As well, there are many other countries around the world that have a high level of knowledge about hemp products.

While Manitoba's producers have relatively little experience working with hemp, they should advance quickly up the learning curve due to their rich tradition in growing and harvesting top-quality crops, and their reputation as being some of the most elite crop producers in Canada and the World.

With the help of ongoing research from industry, university and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives, it will not be long until Manitoba producers are providing a steady supply of high-quality hemp to the international market.


Contact: Address: Other Links:

Mila Ruiz Turiaf
Mila.RuizTuriaf@gov.mb.ca

Send a Message or
E-mail: mbtrade@gov.mb.ca

Tel:  204-945-2466
Fax: 204-957-1763
Toll free in Canada and the U.S.
1-800-529-9981

Manitoba Trade & Investment
1100 - 259 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba,
Canada R3B 3P4

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