Though all the headlines went to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada, hemp farmers were excited about much more than that. Prior to the passage of Bill C-45 or the Cannabis Act hemp came under the auspices of Industrial Hemp Regulation. Though a growing hemp industry now exists in Canada, the inability to process cannabis limits the industry’s economic growth.
The recent move to legalize recreational marijuana in Canada actually affected a larger range of cannabis products, including lifting restrictions on processing industrial hemp for CBD production.
Industrial hemp regulations are changing
Hemp has use in food products and for textile production. This change is opening up new possibilities for established hemp producers and the regions in which they operate.
Beyond legalizing recreational marijuana
All the headlines went to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada. However, hemp farmers were excited about much more than that. Prior to the passage of Bill C-45 or the Cannabis Act, hemp came under the auspices of Industrial Hemp Regulation.
A growing hemp industry now exists in Canada. the inability to process the leaves and flowers limited the industry’s economic growth. The leaves and flowers produce CBD so hemp farmers have a whole new market. This expects to grow in both the short and long term.
Hemp industry set to expand
Brian Rozmahel is a hemp farmer in Alberta’s Leduc County who has about 400 acres dedicated to hemp. Before the new legislation, he faced a variety of limits, but now, he can sell the leaves and flowers to companies like Aurora Cannabis. These companies will then extract CBD for use in a wide range of products with medicinal value.
Aurora Cannabis, in turn, is planning an 800,000 square-foot operation at the Leduc-Nisku Industrial Park near Edmonton International Airport. The park had a 15 percent vacancy rate in the wake of a declining oil and gas sector.
Three other hemp-related companies already operate in the region. One of these, HempCo, is building a 56,000-square-foot facility for production.
The revitalization of a region
Barbara McKenzie, executive director of the Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Association, is excited about the possibilities. She said additional unannounced operations expect to take place:
“There will be completely new jobs that no one has ever thought of before that will be becoming available in that industry…As these deals come to fruition in the next 12 to 18 months, I think we’ll see Nisku change a little bit. One of the things we’ve all really looked at doing…is [to] kind of change the face of the area.”
New hemp regulation will offer a powerful economic boost not only for the citizens of Leduc County, but for the whole central Alberta region surrounding Edmonton. Conditions there are especially conducive to hemp farming, and shipping facilities already exist to facilitate distribution. As the use of CBD expands, regional businesses will be ready.
(Featured Image by Mike Benna)