Hemp farmers in P.E.I. are lobbying for the right to grow hemp with higher CBD levels. Farmers are asking politicians and federal agencies to equal rights as hemp growers from the United States.
Philip Jennings from Lorne Valley Ranch in east P.E.I. said that they had sent requests to different MPs especially in Prince Edward Island. Jennings also said that they had representatives who went to Ottawa and asked to place Canadian farmers on a level field with their American counterparts.
The P.E.I. representative revealed that five farmers are cultivating around 300 acres of hemp for Dosecann, which is a cannabis extraction base located in Charlottetown. Jennings also has growing facilities measuring 750 acres located in the United States as well.
More Freedom For US Hemp Farmers
United States farmers were permitted by the secretary of agriculture to grow hemp varieties that are not certified. But in Canada, it’s a different story.
Jennings stated that in Canada, two ministers would need to decide. The agriculture minister and the health minister have to sit and make a decision to follow what Agriculture Secretary Purdue did.
He further said that they want equality. Canadian hemp farmers should be given equal rights with American farmers and must be allowed to grow hemp varieties which are under exemption possibly for a few years. Jennings said that this should be the decision until somebody or a university comes up with certified, efficient varieties.
These Canadian rules are placing farmers at a disadvantage and may lead to weak earnings, says Jennings. P.E.I. is growing hemp at 5%. He finally said that if they are given the opportunity to develop new varieties that are from private studies around the world, they could grow to as high as 16% CBD. An increase in the value of CBD is a guaranteed increase in price as well.
More Requests From P.E.I. Farmers
Growing hemp with higher CBD is also what Tyler Macdonald from Red Earth Cannabis consulted with Health Canada. Macdonald’s company is establishing a hemp extraction lab located in Brackley, P.E.I. He said that he plans to step up their efforts in lobbying for equal rights.
Macdonald also mentioned that he feels worried that Canadian farmers are at a disadvantage. But he believes that P.E.I. farmers should work hard if they want some changes.
Macdonald also revealed that his company was not able to plant crops this summer due to the low CBD amounts. He said that the original plan was to grow hemp this year, but they decided not to because of the low CBD levels. They thought that it would be wiser to wait for Health Canada’s approval for more cultivars for 2020. But their time was well spent despite the halt in growing crops, Macdonald said. They mainly focused on producing their production line and how to get this working smoothly.
The P.E.I. producer still hopes that there will be more cultivars next year and for hemp with levels of at least 10% + CBD. Macdonald implied that this is an improvement for the processor because of increased oil content and improved quality of their CBD products.
Just like Jennings, Macdonald has also asked the help of local representatives. He also hopes that hemp with a higher CBD is available in the country to place Canadian farmers to an advantage.
Requests From Hemp Seed Growers
Hemp growers have also sought the help of seed growers. The Canadian Seed Grower’s Association is also getting many questions from growers looking for cultivars with higher CBD content.
Michael Scheffel, director of the Canadian Seed Grower’s Association, revealed that he had received calls asking him if there are available seeds with higher CBD. Calls were also about how to get American hemp seed varieties to Canada and of course, how to grow these varieties.
But despite all the eager calls, Sheffel had to dismiss requests. He told callers that it was impossible to get cultivars with high CBD at this time leading inquirers to regulations and policies from Health Canada.
Furthermore, Scheffel said that regulations governing industrial hemp specify that growers are only allowed to grow hemp in the country as long as it is from an approved cultivar.
More Canadian Provinces Asking For Help
Aside from P.E.I., farmers and growers from other Canadian provinces are also requesting for hemp with higher CBD and equal access to better CBD levels like farmers from abroad.
Growers found in areas where more significant hemp production is present are also hoping for some change. Adam MacLean from the P.E.I. Department of Agriculture said that farmers from these places have decided that they have to get better access to hemp varieties with higher CBD so that they can compete with producers from the United States. The representative also estimated that local farmers are cultivating around 600 acres of hemp this year.
Health Canada will maintain an active role in regulating the industrial hemp industry, and this includes improving regulations that are in line with the Cannabis Act.
It is expected that Jennings and fellow hemp farmers in the P.E.I. are ready for harvest in the first weeks of October. Jennings also assumes that they will make anywhere from $5000 to $7000 per acre but stated that this could be worth more if only they were given a chance to use hemp varieties from the United States.
The P.E.I. farmer said that he knows growers are earning around $25,000 to $45,000 for every acre with a field that made $75,000 an acre. He concluded that if they had access to the same hemp varieties, they could have the same earnings this year.
Jennings is from Georgia, USA and this is where he built a vast drying room that can hold a thousand drying bins which are similar to dry vegetables. The hemp giant also purchased $3 million in cannabis harvesting and drying equipment very recently, possibly in the hopes of handling CBD-rich hemp varieties.