Hemp production in Canada is expected to double this year from 41,200 acres in 2018 to 82,500 this year, according to Statistics Canada figures outlined by the Calgary Herald. Health Canada, though, has not released figures for how many licenses have been issued for exactly how many acres.
Ted Haney, executive director of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, told the Herald that most of the new applicants are first-time hemp farmers.
“Hemp’s been grown in Canada for 20 years, but it was always sort of culturally viewed as a crop that’s not part of the mainstream. There was always that attitude of, ‘that guy grows pot,’ Today, like chickpeas, lentils or quinoa, it’s just another one of the hot options out there. It’s increasingly being looked at as a mainstream crop.” – Haney, to the Herald
The increase in first-time cultivators is likely due to regulations allowing CBD extraction, Haney said, and that canola exports remain down due to an ongoing ban on imports of the crop in China.
Will Van Roessel, an Alberta-based farmer and seed producer, told the Herald that CBD farmers are seeing a lot of investment from outside the agricultural industry. Van Roessel called the outside investments “a bit concerning” because some investors might have “unrealistic expectations.”
“They’re getting farmers to grow for them but they haven’t even built a processing plant yet to deal with the harvest of this crop,” he said in the report. “These farmers are taking a significant risk that by the time they’re ready to harvest their crop, there won’t be anybody there to take that crop and pay for it.”
In May, Statistics Canada reported that farm revenues in Alberta have dropped 68 percent since 2006.
In February, licensed producer Tilray purchased hemp food maker Manitoba Harvest for $317 million — the company’s largest acquisition to date. Tilray indicated at that time that they hoped to enter the U.S. market offering hemp-derived CBD products produced by Manitoba Harvest. Manitoba’s CEO Bill Chiasson said the goal was to produce CBD tinctures, sprays and gel caps.
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